A combination of changes to your hormones and metabolism can mean that your dietary needs start to change in your mid 40’s. Some foods can start to become ultra-important at this stage of your life. Are you wondering which foods should become a big part of your diet? According to studies, these foods are a must for having more energy and better health as you get older!
Want to protect your heart health? You definitely want to eat an apple a day! A reasonably large apple gives you up to 5g of fibre, which is great for your heart and your digestion.
Research has linked apples in older women to better cardiovascular health and according to a 2013 study, eating apples every day can cut your risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
Snacking on an apple a day can have some major health benefits!
According to studies, eating oats (and whole grains in general) can help to cut your risk of premature death from heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Eat plenty of whole grains to keep your blood sugar levels stable. If you regularly feel the dreaded mid-afternoon energy slump, it’s probably because your blood sugar levels are starting to dip.
Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids. As well as being important for healthy cognition as you get older, omega 3s also have big benefits for cholesterol. For women going through menopause, fatty acids can also help to manage symptoms such as hot flushes/flashes.
Fatty fish is also one of the few dietary sources of vitamin D. Many people are deficient in this nutrient and low levels can affect your energy levels.
Ideally, you want to be eating fatty fish a couple of times per week. Some types of fatty fish are quite high in mercury, especially swordfish and shark. It’s recommended that you eat these types of fish less often because of the mercury content.
If you’re vegetarian or just not a big fan of fish, walnuts are a great plant-based source of omega 3 fatty acids.
Nuts are a great source of magnesium, which naturally depletes as you get older. Low magnesium levels are often linked to low energy levels. Snacking on a handful of nuts can help to boost your magnesium levels and provide a natural energy boost. Just don’t go overboard with the amount of nuts you eat as they can be high in fat too. Even though they are healthy fats, you still want to limit the quantity you eat.
Nuts can also be a good source of vitamin E. Studies have linked high levels of vitamin E to a lower risk of cognitive decline and may even cut your risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease.
For women going through menopause, soy products can be very beneficial. Research has indicated that eating plenty of soy isoflavones can help to reduce the intensity of menopause symptoms. If you’re not familiar with soy isoflavones, these are plant oestrogens that mimic the effects of oestrogen in your body. Hot flushes/flashes are just one of the menopause symptoms that can be calmed with a soy-rich diet.
Tip: Choose fermented soy products such as tempeh, miso, soy sauce and tamari sauce.
Are you worried about your iron levels as you get older? You don’t need as much iron once you start to go through menopause (thanks to the lack of menstruation), but anaemia can still be a problem for some women. According to research, your anaemia risk can increase with age. Snacking on pumpkin seeds can give you an easy iron boost and they taste delicious.
Who doesn’t love some chocolate? The cacao content in dark chocolate (70% or higher) has been shown in studies to have many health benefits:
- may reduce heart disease risk
- may improve blood flow and lower blood pressure
- may improve brain function by increasing blood flow
So go ahead and have a square or two after dinner tonight and try to really savour them. YUM!
Medical Disclaimer: All information contained in this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent health problems. For all serious health issues, please contact a medical or nutrition practitioner. The information provided in this blog is based on the best knowledge of the author at the time of writing and we do not assume liability for the information within this blog, be it direct or indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages.