Here’s something every woman over the age of 45 knows – our bodies change with age. So it’s not surprising that the nutrition we need to remain healthy as we get older also changes.
“A woman’s nutritional needs evolve after (or as we go through) menopause. The body doesn’t absorb vitamins and minerals as well, creating deficiencies that lead to bone loss and low muscle mass as well as other problems,” said Lauren Fialkoff, MS, RD, LDN of the Weight and Wellness Center at Tufts Medical Center.
Here are 6 essential foods for women over 45:
1. Low-fat yogurt and dairy for Calcium and vitamin D
Eating foods containing calcium and vitamin D can help maintain bone density. Other sources of Calcium include: dark leafy vegetables, salmon, shrimp, fortified orange juice, soy milk and breakfast cereal. Other sources of vitamin D include: sardines, salmon, cod and swordfish, fortified orange juice and breakfast cereals.
2. Avocado for heart healthy fats
Heart healthy fats can protect against coronary artery disease, heart attack and stroke. Increasing intake of omega- 3 fatty acids from foods can help protect against heart disease. Other foods with heart healthy fats include: olive oil, nuts, salmon, tuna, sardines, as well as seeds, including sesame, pumpkin, chia and flaxseed.
3. Kidney beans for lean protein
Protein is important for maintaining muscle mass. Protein containing foods can be lean beef, chicken, fish, nonfat yogurt, especially Greek yogurt is another great source of protein. Soybeans, pinto beans and lentils are other options.
4. Berries for fiber
Eating foods high in fiber can help support proper digestion, a healthy heart, as well as a healthy weight. Other sources of fiber include: whole grains such as barley, wheat and quinoa, all fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
5. Tomatoes for potassium
It is just as important to increase potassium as it is to lower sodium intake for heart health. Adding potassium-rich foods to the diet, such as leafy greens, squash, bananas and sweet potatoes may help to avoid or to reduce high blood pressure, and as a result, reduce risk of stroke.
6. Eggs for vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is important for both healthy nerves and red blood cells. Vitamin B12 is only found naturally in animal products and research shows that digestion and absorption of vitamin B12 from animal products decreases as we age, due to a decrease in stomach acid formation. The National Institute of Health recommends that all adults over the age of 50 receive most of their vitamin B12 through supplements and fortified foods. Other sources of vitamin B12 include: sardines, tuna, lean beef, milk, yogurt, nutritional yeast.