As you enter your 40s, you may notice it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep off excess weight and lose it as well — especially if you’re a woman. Many women in their 40s experience a decline in their metabolism and estrogen levels as part of the natural aging process, but certain foods can help women stay healthy and lower their risk of age-related health issues such as weight gain and osteoporosis.
If you’re over the age of 40, what should you eat? Here are 8 diet changes you can make to help you stay healthy and lose excess weight.
1. Front-load your calories
Make breakfast and lunch your largest meals of the day, and eat a light dinner. This way, you can supply your body with the energy it needs all day long, and eat less at nighttime when it’s time to relax and prepare for bed. Late-night eating can trigger weight gain along with sleeping disturbances when your body’s digestion kicks in.
2. Eat more leafy greens
Leafy greens are especially high in fiber and can help keep you feeling full for long periods of time. Leafy greens like kale, spinach, and Collard greens are also loaded with antioxidants and many other nutrients that keep your energy levels and metabolism high, and that help ward off cognitive decline and dementia.
3. Eat less sodium
A diet high in sodium can cause water retention and bloating, and make it difficult for you to keep off excess weight. Avoid eating foods high in sodium such as frozen meals, condiments, baked goods, and processed and packaged foods.
4. Eat more protein
Being a woman over the age of 40 is a risk factor for osteoporosis, which is loss of bone and muscle mass. Foods high in protein can help you preserve muscle mass, and allow you to build muscle more easily. Consume at least 30 grams of protein at every meal to lower your risk for osteoporosis.
5. Consume more fatty fish
Fatty fish contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids that lend to good cognition, vision, and heart health. Eat at least two servings of fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and halibut every week.
6. Get more calcium
Women over 40 who are fighting osteoporosis can benefit from higher amounts of calcium, since bone loss and lower estrogen levels can interfere with the body’s absorption of this essential mineral. Aim for at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
7. Eat quinoa
This highly versatile whole grain is high in fiber and protein, which will help keep you feeling full while also boosting your energy levels. Quinoa can be used as a healthy alternative to rice and pasta, and can be stuffed into vegetables such as mushrooms, squash, and zucchini.
8. Play with balsamic vinegar
Balsamic vinegar is high in antioxidants that can help reduce chronic inflammation, drive weight loss, and protect against heart disease and cancer. This vinegar also boosts the activity of an enzyme called pepsin that improves the body’s metabolism. Experiment with balsamic vinegar by drizzling it on vegetables and using it as a salad dressing ingredient.
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