The nutritional needs and metabolic rate change once women reach their 40s. The metabolism tends to get slower, making weight loss difficult. Women experience various other changes such as reduced functioning of the hormones, lowered energy levels, and other medical conditions. The daily challenging schedule and effort to balance personal and professional life often results in women deprioritising their health. However, the 40s is when women should take stock of their health and eating patterns to transition smoothly into the next phase of their life. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Mr. Aman Puri, Founder of Steadfast Nutrition, about nutrition tips for women above the age of 40.
Nutrition tips for women above 40
Due to the breakdown of muscle tissues with age, women above 40 should consume protein-rich foods like eggs, fish, poultry, dairy products, beans, legumes, and nuts. Here are the nutrients that are important for women above the age of 40:
Carbohydrates are also important since they serve as the major fuel to the body and keep the energy levels high. Carbohydrate-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, millets, and oat meals.
Fat is another macronutrient that constitutes a balanced and healthy diet. Include good fat sources such as avocados, flax seeds, and its oil, chia seeds, walnuts, fatty fishes like herring bone, salmon, tuna, and mackerel in the daily diet.
3. Vitamins and minerals
Apart from these macronutrients, women in their forties should incorporate a good amount of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. These are required in relatively lower amounts than macronutrients, but play a central role in healthy cell functioning and maintaining good immune health.
Foods containing a good profile of vitamins and minerals also help keep at bay diseases such as osteoporosis, hypertension, cardiac disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancers. Micronutrients like calcium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin D are some of the crucial nutrients that women above 40 should include in their diet.
Consuming a diet rich in fibre not only fills you but also helps avoid overeating. Try to take between 25-30 grams of fibre daily through foods such as whole grains, legumes, oatmeal, fruits, vegetables in form of raw salads, beans, nuts, and seeds. The high fibre content in the diet will help you maintain weight, keep sugar levels and blood pressure in check, and prevent constipation. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water every day to keep yourself hydrated and allow natural detoxification of the body.
5. Healthy choices
One can start their fitness journey by forming and abiding by a routine. Consume a good variety of seasonal and local fruits and vegetables. Opt for low-fat dairy products as high-fat dairy is rich in bad fats (saturated fats). Choose healthy cooking oils like olive, avocado, mustard, and coconut oil. Include 2-3 tsp of homemade desi ghee in the daily diet as it helps in good hormonal functioning. Try oil rotation as it will help you get the maximum benefits from each oil, rather than using the same oil for too long.
6. Keep weight in check
After the forties, the estrogen hormone levels tend to drop, which can cause insulin to rise. Low estrogen levels can also reduce thyroid function which can slow down the metabolism and eventually lead to weight gain. Women should keep their weight within the normal BMI range (18.5 - 24.9 kg/m2) by eating healthy and exercising as being overweight/obese can further increase the risk of several diseases.
Also read: 40 Weight Loss Tips for Women in 40s
7. Get checked regularly
Several other physiological changes are happening during this time such as impaired vision. Hence, women should get their eyes checked regularly and include vitamin A-rich foods such as carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, papaya, and others to maintain a healthy vision. Get your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, liver, and kidney functioning test, and thyroid profile done regularly to assess your health status from time to time.
After 40 years of age, we lose approximately 1% muscle mass every year. Hence, one must include strength training, along with some cardio exercises in the daily workout routine. Quit smoking if you are a chain smoker as it helps lower the chances of heart attacks, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, kidney failure, and lung diseases.
Limit the alcohol intake to 1 drink a day and avoid eating fried snacks with your drinks as it can exert more pressure on your liver. Form a good sleeping pattern and get at least 7 hours of sound sleep everyday so that the hormones and cells function smoothly.