Best Tips for Women Over 40 on How to Eat to Maintain Health and Weight

The health of a woman over the age of 40 changes. The body reduces the production of female hormones and this slows down metabolism and provokes weight gain. Age-related diseases such as hypertension, osteoporosis, joint diseases, and hair loss appear. But with proper nutrition, you can prevent many diseases and at the same time still be thin and beautiful. What do women over 40 years old need to eat?

1. Eat More High-Protein Foods

The beneficial properties of protein for middle-aged and elderly women are confirmed by studies. In an experiment conducted in 2011, women lost more fat and gained more muscle mass over 16 weeks of a high-protein diet than participants on a low-protein diet.

In addition, a high-protein diet is associated with less muscle loss with age. This helps boost metabolism and prevents muscle loss.

Each meal or snack should contain protein-rich foods such as chicken, fish, beef, tofu, eggs, legumes, milk or cottage cheese. Many women prefer to eat high-protein foods for dinner or breakfast. However, it’s recommended to include protein foods in every meal. This may be omelet or scrambled eggs for breakfast, cottage cheese and yogurt as a snack, salads with salmon, chicken, and tofu for lunch, and main dishes with meat or legumes for dinner.

2. Add More Calcium

A calcium-rich diet prevents the risk of age-related diseases such as osteoporosis. Bones are constantly destroyed and healed. Up to the age of 30, this happens at about the same rate but over 30, the rate of bone destruction begins to slightly exceed bone healing.

Calcium helps support bone healing and reduces the risk of bone destruction. This is especially important for women during menopause since a decrease in estrogen levels slows the calcium absorption.

Adults need to consume 1,000 mg of calcium per day. This amount is contained in 100 grams of hard cheese or 800 ml of milk or kefir. Some nuts and seeds such as almonds, sesame and sunflower seeds, fish and seafood, and legumes are also rich in calcium.

It’s necessary to keep in mind that calcium can’t be absorbed without vitamin D. The best sources of this vitamin are herring, salmon, mackerel, and egg yolks. It’s also contained in chicken, pork, and beef liver.

3. Eat Sufficient Fats

Fats contain more calories than proteins and carbohydrates but they reduce hunger and this greatly affects the size of servings. Lots of research has proven that low-carb diets are much more effective for weight loss than low-fat diets. Moreover, fats are essential for health. If you have dry skin, joint problems, decreased concentration, and depressed mood, it may be caused by a lack of fats in your diet.

Many think that saturated fats negatively affect heart health but a recent study by Norwegian scientists showed that a high-fat diet doesn’t increase the risk of heart disease. The type of fat is not important. The important thing is not a type of fat but the quality of products from which we get them. You can eat butter and fatty dairy products, avoid cheap pastries and fast food.

Don’t forget about omega-3 and omega-6 fats which are found in fish and vegetable oils. Omega-3-unsaturated fatty acids protect the scalp from dryness, prevent hair loss, and maintain eye and heart health. Diet rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is also a part of many effective varicose vein treatment plans.

Moreover, omega-3 fatty acids contribute to weight loss. In a recent study, the base metabolism of participants increased by 14% and fat oxidation by 19% over 12 weeks of supplementation with fish oil.

Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and fish oil will provide the body with the most important omega-3 acids. Try to include healthy fats in every meal or snack. It can be two teaspoons of olive oil, two tablespoons of nuts or seeds or half an avocado.

4. Eat More Fiber and Less Sugar

Carbohydrates are necessary for the body but you need to choose their sources properly. Get carbohydrates from fiber-rich foods like cereals, vegetables, and fruits. Fiber reduces bad cholesterol, the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and helps to maintain weight.

It’s also recommended to reduce the consumption of processed foods such as sugar, sodas, pastries, white bread, rice, and pasta. These foods contain far more calories than fruits and vegetables but have fewer vitamins and minerals. Moreover, they have a high glycemic index which provokes sudden blood sugar spikes and may lead to diabetes.

5. Change Serving Sizes

Metabolism slows down with age and it becomes harder for you to maintain weight with usual calorie intake. You can speed up your metabolism by adding more physical activity or changing serving sizes. Try to avoid eating when watching TV or driving a car. Stop eating as soon as you feel satiety. You should get rid of the habit to eat everything that lies on your plate. Conduct an experiment: put a lot of food on the plate, weigh it, and eat consciously. Then weigh what is left to find out the difference.

6. Plan Your Daily Menu

You can follow the US National Academy Dietary Reference Intakes to plan your daily menu:

  • 10–35% protein;
  • 20–35% fat;
  • 45–65% of carbohydrates.

You may also find out your recommended daily calorie intake using formulas or online calculators. Calculate how many proteins, fats, and carbohydrates converted to calories you need to eat daily.

If you don’t want to count the calories you consume, you can try to divide your plate into three parts. Fill half of the plate with vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, broccoli, pepper, zucchini, eggplant, and other vegetables, except for potatoes since they contain a lot of starch which is very easy to digest and thus contributes to fast weight gain. Leave a quarter of the plate for high-protein foods and a quarter for sweet potatoes, pasta, and other side dishes. Add a couple of teaspoons of healthy fats. Dairy products and fruits will be a good snack for you throughout the day.

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