Changing Your Diet for Life After 40

We’re about to say something revolutionary. Are you ready?

Women should not be afraid to age.

Aging brings about a renewed sense of self, freedom, and a whole new perspective on life. But with time, our bodies also change in composition. We need to learn how to adapt to these changes and make the necessary adjustments, like not eating as if we are still in our 20’s. Menopause and childbirth are also big markers to watch out for. They remind us that our bodies are not only capable of amazing things, but also dramatic changes.

The biggest change you may expect after 40 is putting on a little weight, and that’s fairly common. The good news is that weight gain at this point in life is most often due to a physical decrease in activity rather than a change in hormones. By implementing a new exercise routine combined with a balanced diet, you’ll be able to stave off weight gain and keep other ailments at bay such as osteoporosis, heart disease, and diabetes.

Listed below are a few of the things women over 40 can do to reduce menopausal symptoms, minimize health risks, stay slim, and keep ourselves feeling younger.

Be mindful of what goes on your plate.

Have you ever heard the old adage, “From your lips to your hips”? This will become truer and truer as you get older. Your metabolism isn’t what it used to be, and will start to decrease over time. All that sugar and fried food tends to settle around the waist in older women, so you will need to be more vigilant of your intake.

Eliminating these foods from your diet completely is best. They don’t do your weight or your health any favors. Instead, incorporate fresh foods like vegetables, fruits, and legumes as part of your daily diet.

Reduce the amount of processed foods, junk foods, and overly processed meats in your diet. Not only are they lacking in nutrients, but they are also not good for your health. Instead, opt for proteins such as fish and chicken. The fiber found in fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals and oatmeal are is also an important part of your daily diet.

Fluctuating hormones during pre-menopause cause a common symptom of bloating for women. To help relieve this, it helps to cut the amount of processed carbohydrates and salt in your diet as these make you retain water.

Move your body.

There are many mild activities you can try such as yoga, pilates, and swimming that are all gentle on your joints. This is important as many women tend to experience joint pain as they get older. Cardio should also be incorporated in your routine in small doses.

Taking a brisk 20 minute walk, taking the staircase instead of the elevator, walking to a nearby destination instead of hopping in the car, and taking an aerobics class are all excellent ways to make sure your heart is getting the exercise it needs. Find interesting and fun ways to get your body to move on a regular basis instead of thinking of it as another chore to check off on your to do list. Activity will help to ward off sickness and keep you fit for much longer than you’d normally expect.

Menopausal symptoms can also be reduced by slimming down. Losing weight greatly aids in reducing the risks of breast cancer and heart disease, both of which increase after menopause. It also helps reduce the occurrence of hot flashes.

Take your vitamins.

Vitamin D and calcium are essential for strong bones, and you need to make sure that your body is getting enough of them. Over time, your bones can get brittle, and with less estrogen they can’t absorb calcium as well as they used to.

It’s important to find out through a blood test if you are calcium deficient. Supplements and calcium-rich foods should give you the much needed nutrients you may lack. If you eat dairy, opt for low-fat products. They have around the same amount of calcium as their full-fat equivalents, but with fewer calories.

Check with your doctor to see if you also require any multivitamins. They help to make up for lacking nutrients or vitamins that are not getting absorbed in your diet.

Keep your heart in check.

Heart disease affects as many women as it does men. One great diet that is heart healthy is the Mediterranean diet, which contains a lot of seafood, grains, olive oil, and vegetables.

Aim for at least two servings of fish a week (ideally fish with healthy fats like trout or salmon). If that’s not possible for you, consult with your doctor to see if you can give fish oil supplements a try. It is also suggested that fish oil may help prevent breast cancer.

Cut out refined sugar.

While being extremely addictive and bad for your teeth, refined sugar has no nutrients or vitamins whatsoever.  It’s also proven to make you gain weight—fast! Sugar isn’t just found in your obvious foods like cakes and cookies. It’s also mischievously hidden in everyday items like sauces, dressings, and condiments.

Corporations now know that consumers have caught on and may not always list sugar as “sugar” on food labels. It can be listed under sneaky names like dried cane syrup, molasses, high fructose corn syrup, or brown rice syrup, so stay vigilant. Going cold turkey on sugar isn’t as easy as it seems, though. The best way to cut back is by slowly reducing your intake day by day.

Hydrate Wisely.

Have plenty of water throughout the day. Your body is able to function better when it is well hydrated. Green tea contains a good amount of antioxidants, so if you like the taste it is an excellent choice as well.

While red wine has been getting a lot of good press for its antioxidant and heart health benefits, it may not be all that helpful for older women. Hot flashes are a result of increased blood vessel dilation and are often caused by the consumption of alcohol. If you really need that glass to help you unwind after a long day, try watering it down with seltzer. It’ll help to cut down on calories, too.

Aside from red wine, warm beverages and caffeine seem to also trigger hot flashes in women going through menopause. Instead of your regular cup of hot coffee, try a chilled antioxidant-packed tea to get your morning started.

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