What Should A Healthy Diet for Women Over 40 Look Like?
In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. The word diet implies the use of nutrition for health or weight-management reasons. Both of the reasons often being related. “We are what we eat”. That is very true since the foods are the materials that form our body. A healthy diet for women over 40 need special attention. That because of metabolism slowing by up to 10% per decade.
I did not pay much attention to a healthy diet when I was under 40 years old. I eat all that I like and available. Then I realized that there were excess fats in my thighs and stomach. I also noticed little fine wrinkle lines below my eyes. Read the article about foods that build collagen and elastin here. That was the time I started to pay more attention to a healthy diet for women over 40 years old.
Although we humans are omnivores, each culture and each person holds some food preferences or some food taboos. This may be due to personal tastes or ethical reasons. Individual dietary choices may be more or less healthy.
Ingestion and absorption of vitamins, minerals, and food energy in the form of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are required by our body to perform optimally. Dietary habits and choices play a significant role in the quality of life, health, and longevity.
Starting at age 30, most people begin to lose about half a pound of the metabolism-revving tissue each year. For women over 40, it is easier to gain weight than to lose weight since our metabolism slowing by up to 10 % per decade. At age 50s, the rate doubles.
The Disadvantage of Having Less Muscle Mass
– makes us weaker
– making it harder to do simple activities
So that we should do any efforts to keep our muscle mass. We can do that by eating a suitable diet and doing suitable exercise. Research shows that when combined with regular exercise, what we eat and when we eat are the secret for building muscle mass and a key driver of our metabolism.
Before we read more about the diet, let us watch a video below:
How to Manage A Healthy Diet for Women Over 40?
- Eat a Balanced Diet
Eat protein-rich foods ( 10 % – 35 % of our daily calorie intake ) to support calorie-burning muscle mass, and follow a moderate-calorie diet. Around half of our plate should be filled with vegetables. Eat a balanced and varied diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains. Eat rainbow colors of fruits and vegetables to ensure that we get all nutrients needed by the body. Learn further about the benefits of eating the rainbow color of fruits and vegetables here. Leek contains rich vitamin A that beneficial to avoid cataracts. We should consider taking it into our daily diet.
- Eat Food Rich in Calcium to Prevent Osteoporosis
Calcium and vitamin D play a big role in minimizing bone loss in our 40s. Our calcium count should be 500 to 700 mg per day and our vitamin D intake should be 800 IU to 1000 IU per day. Milk, almond, salmon fish, and fortified cereal are calcium source foods. Although vitamin D is added to milk and some other foods, we will probably need a supplement to be sure we are getting enough. A capsule containing 800 to 1,000 IU should do the trick.
Be careful in consuming calcium supplements. Recent evidence indicates that taking high-dose calcium supplements doesn’t prevent fractures and may even be risky. Calcium and vitamin D supplements don’t prevent fractures. Studies of calcium revealed a coupled of downsides to high levels of calcium supplementation, but not to calcium obtained through a regular diet.
In the Woman’s Health Initiative, women taking the calcium-vitamin D combination had a higher risk of developing kidney stones than those who got the placebo. High doses of calcium from supplements may promote stone formation by increasing the amount of calcium that is eliminated in the urine. A 2010 analysis of 15 randomized controlled trials also linked calcium supplementation with an increased risk of a heart attack.
Picture 2. Foods Rich in Calcium (credit to Pixabay)
- Fat should not more than 30 % of our total daily calorie intake.
The recommendations for fat intake per day fall within the same general range. That range is
We need to know that 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories. Figure out what 20-30% of our ideal daily calorie intake is. Divide the amount by 9. The answer we get is the ideal range for how many grams of fat we should eat per day.
- Our minds should open to new possibilities on our plates.
We should try eating functional foods we have never tried before. Functional food is a food given an additional function. For example, omega-3 enriched eggs. The functional component is Omega-3 fatty acids ( DHA ). The fatty acid profile of the egg yolks is altered by changing the feed the hens receive. Hens receive feed rich in omega-3s, typically from flaxseed, fish oil, or sea algae. So the amounts of omega-3s increase and the number of saturated fats decrease. The result is lower triglycerides and cholesterol. It reduces the risk of coronary heart disease.
- Eat less than we have ever eaten before.
As we get older, we need fewer calories per day. It will help us reduce fat and keep our ideal weight.
How To Get Our Metabolism Fired Up Again?
Increasing body metabolism means increasing the burning of calories in our body. If our metabolism is good, then we will have more energy, more fit, and controlled weight. Metabolism is a term derived from Greek, which means change or transformation.
We associate metabolism with various processes that occur in the body. The process converts food and other substances into energy or other metabolic products. Metabolism is an important process. It allows the body to use foods and other resources to work, repair the damage, heal, and clean toxins from the body.
Metabolism helps digestion in absorbing nutrients. It is most influenced by nutrition, hydration, and physical activity. Each item is an important aspect of optimal metabolic health. When one is lacking, it will lower the metabolic rate. As a result, it will affect the health of our bodies.
Here are 10 Tips to Increase Body Metabolism, So That Our Bodies Become Fit And Have The Ideal Body Weight:
1. Pay Attention to Protein Intake.
We use protein to maintain muscle health. Protein can help burn calories up to as much as 35 percent. This is called the “thermic effect” of food (TEF). That is far more than the 5 percent of calories burned by fat or the 5-15 required for carbs.
Muscle-protein synthesis goes up after we eat a meal with protein, and our body switches back to muscle-breakdown mode a few hours after we’ve eaten. Normally the ups and downs equal out and our muscle mass stays the same. But eat too little protein too long cause our muscles to start shrinking and decrease our metabolism.
According to Dr. Apovian, Nutrition and Weight Management Professor of Medicine at Boston University, Recommended Daily Allowance of protein need is 1,5 gram/kg of ideal body weight to successfully shed body fat and maintain lean muscle mass.
Cutting back it causes our body to rob our muscles for energy. That is leaving us thinner and weaker. Not only make our clothing fit poorly but also we begin to burn fewer calories. So even if we are eating the same amount, we can easily regain the weight we want to cut. Eat 20 to 30 g of Protein at Each Meal.
We should vary our protein sources. There are a lot of delicious vegetarian sources of protein. Try consuming fish, tofu, tempeh, lentils, beans, nuts, grains, seeds, quinoa, buckwheat, mycoprotein ( Quorn ), seitan, hummus, pita, spirulina and other sources of protein to get a various healthy diet for women over 40. According to researchers from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, replacing meat with plant-based sources of protein is much healthier, reducing the risk of death by 34 percent.
2. Eat Foods That Increase Body Metabolism.
Protein and fiber are two kinds of foods that boost our metabolism. We need to limit calories in order to lose weight, but too low calories can harm our metabolism. At the time the body lack of calories, then the body will metabolize and burn muscle tissue to be energy. So, we should eat enough and do not do a diet that is too tight. To help speed up our metabolism, we should eat some of these healthy foods:
Apple is low in calories and the fiber content in an apple can help lose weight. Another fruit that beneficial is the pear. Eat apples and pears along with the skin, because the skin contains the most fiber. But remember, wash these fruits to avoid the pesticide poison left behind.
- Green Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach etc. are not only high in fiber. They are also rich in calcium. There have been studies that found an association between calcium and weight loss.
- Brown Rice
Choose foods high in fiber, such as brown rice, oatmeal, and whole-grain bread. Eating these foods will make the stomach full faster thus can reduce the amount of food that enters the body.
- Green Tea
Research shows that green tea can increase metabolism. It also provides antioxidant substances that prevent premature aging.
- Spicy Foods
Spicy foods, chili or pepper serves also beneficial to increase metabolism. This is because pepper and chili contain chemical compounds called capsaicin. The capsaicin can speed up the metabolism process.
3. Do Not Forget Breakfast
Breakfast will increase the body’s metabolism to stay fit throughout the day. People who do not have breakfast are 4.5 times more at risk of being overweight. Breakfast must have enough protein, low fat and high fiber.
Eating protein at breakfast is especially important because the longest period of muscle breakdown occurs at night when we are sleeping and not eating for hours at a time. If we skip breakfast or start our day with a protein light meal we are missing out on flipping that muscle-building switch back on. Our body needs about 30 g protein at each meal to maximize muscle protein synthesis. Protein plays an important role to get a healthy diet for women over 40.
Caffeine is found in tea and coffee. It is a stimulant of the nervous system. Caffeine can increase the metabolic rate by 3-11 percent. According to a study in Japan, a cup of green tea will increase metabolism by 12 percent. The catechins in tea are also beneficial to speed up metabolism.
5. Eat Foods Containing Fiber
Research shows that fiber can help the body burn fat up to 30 percent. Research also shows people who eat less fiber suffer from obesity. Increase fiber intake by eating foods such as fruits, vegetables, and grains. So the body gets enough fiber no less than 25 grams per day.
6. Drink Cold Water
Before we eat, drink a glass of water. Drinking water increases the number of calories we burn. Drink enough water to avoid dehydration. It also avoids the snacking of high-calorie foods.
Researchers in Germany found that drinking six glasses of cold water can lose 50 calories a day. The body needs the energy to heat the cold water, to fit the body temperature.
7. Organic Foods
Research from Canada reports a study result about body toxicity and losing weight correlation. Too much body toxicity can cause difficulties in losing weight. This is because the toxins slow down the process of burning energy in the body.
Another study also found that pesticides can trigger weight gain. So, stay away from accumulating toxins from food. If possible, consume organic fruits and organic vegetables that chemical-free.
8. Eat Foods Rich in Iron (Fe)
The body needs iron to form red blood cells in charge of circulating the oxygen that muscles need to burn fat. Add iron intake by eating fat-free meat, beans, and spinach.
9. Fulfill Vitamin D Necessity.
Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with metabolic diseases and lipid dysregulations such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome. We can get vitamin D from sunbathing under the sun. We can also get it from foods rich in vitamin D.
10. Drink Milk
There is research evidence that calcium deficiency can slow down the metabolic process. Dietary calcium works better than supplemental. Three or more servings of dairy foods and beverages a day could speed up calorie-burning in adults.