The right kind of diet for women after 40s

The metabolic rate slowers down by the time you reach your 40s. It is not only necessary for a fitness enthusiast to have a proper diet plan, but all the women. They need to take their health cautiously as it is the prime time for getting diseases. It is not just the fear of diseases but obesity as well, which is a dangerous thing to look after. You need to have a check on your food habits for a healthy lifestyle. Having a proper diet plan and following it can actually make a lot of difference.

Why are women prone to get obese in their 40s?

1. Hormonal imbalances cause weight gain

During perimenopause, our estrogen and testosterone levels start to drop.  By menopause, they plummet.  This is probably why approximately 30% of women between 50 and 59 are obese.

There appears to be a connection between estrogen and body weight regulation.  With lower estrogen levels, lab animals tend to eat more and be less physically active.  Levels that are too high or too low appear to lead to fat storage.  And, lower estrogen levels may also slow down your metabolic rate (the speed  at your body converts stored energy into working energy).

2. Being less active too makes a person obese

Many of us just slow down with age and exercise less. This is just bad all around. This is true for both men and women. Naturally as we get older, we gradually lose muscle mass – a little bit every year. It actually starts happening as early as 30. The less muscle we have on our bodies, the slower our metabolism is and the easier it is to gain weight. We also lose aerobic fitness as we age, further slowing down our ability to use up energy when we exercise.  In other words, we burn less calories when we exercise.

3. Not getting enough sleep is bad for your health

Many women have trouble sleeping during menopause due to hot flashes, night sweats, stress and the other fun stuff that goes along with low estrogen levels. No sleep is accompanied by hunger pangs. Eating late at night causes weight gain. The bummer is poor sleep is linked to hunger and weight gain because of two more hormones:  ghrelin (the “feed me” hormone) and leptin (the “I’m full” hormone).  Here’s a short blog I wrote on that topic.  If you’re sleep deprived, these hormones get out of whack.

4. Increased Insulin resistance cause weight gain

As we age, we tend to become more insulin resistant which can put us at risk for type 2 diabetes. When you eat foods that break down into sugar, the pancreas pumps out insulin to escort the sugar out of your blood. People with Insulin resistance don’t use insulin effectively so that cells have trouble absorbing sugar which causes a buildup of sugar and insulin in the blood. Researchers still aren’t 100% in agreement as to why, but at the end of the day, people with insulin resistance gain weight, particularly around the middle.

10 tips to maintain right kind of diet after 40s

You need to know the golden rules of weight loss. You need to have a proper diet and workout routine for maintaining the ideal weight.

1. You need to eat less to lose weight

It doesn’t matter if all you eat is grilled chicken, brown rice, and broccoli. If you don’t cut back on your portions, you won’t lose weight. Everyone’s calorie needs are different, but in general, a woman eating 2,000 calories per day should aim to cut back by 400 to 500 calories, recommends Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, nutrition expert and author of Eating in Color.

2. Eat less added sugar, processed food and refined grains

Limit the consumption of white bread, bagels, pasta, white rice and a lot more processed food. According to the sugar science department at UCSF, added sugar is hiding in 74% of all packaged food.  And, the majority of carbohydrates in the typical American diet is made of refined grains.  This means reading labels folks and knowing how many different names there are for sugar.  Just because it’s called “agave nectar” or “cane juice crystals” doesn’t mean it’s any better for you than the white granulated stuff.  Your body doesn’t know the difference and once you eat it, it’s all the same to your pancreas (the organ that produces insulin in response to sugar).

3. Skipping meals will mess with your metabolism

When you skip breakfast or dinner, it tells your body to squirrel away calories instead of burning them. Skipping meals also increases the chances that your blood sugar will crash, leaving you ravenous for a quick energy hit in the form of sugary carbs.

4. Exercise more for a healthy body

Contrary to what your body may want to do, you must exercise more regularly as you age, not less!  If you’re finding yourself slowing down, gradually start ramping it back up.  It’s not a good idea to go from taking an occasional walk to running a 10K.  That’s a fast track to getting an injury.  But start finding ways to fit more physical activity to your life.  The more you exercise, the more insulin sensitive you become (that’s the opposite of insulin resistant!).

5. Improve the quality of food intake

Pay attention to how you feel after eating certain types of foods and notice what makes you good and what makes you feel crappy. Take probiotics to aid in digestion.You need to incorporate anti-inflammatory foods like foods high in omega-3s, along with garlic, turmeric, cocoa, tea and berries, into your diet. You need to eat more high-quality protein, which aids in weight loss.

6. Avoid intake of sugar

People avoid having sugar for fear of gaining weight, but there’s more to it. Having too much of sweets can accelerate the aging process in innumerable ways. Whether it is in ice cream or in a chocolate bar, the body converts this sugar to glucose. A major health issue linked to high blood glucose is diabetes. However it can also lead to other health problems such as cardiovascular disease, kidney or nerve damage. Diabetics can also experience skin, mouth and bone problems that make the body look and feel older than it should.

7. Limit the intake of beverages

It is a proven fact that moderate amount of red wine is good for the heart. But what’s the right definition of ‘moderate’? According to the National Institutes of Health, light-to-moderate alcohol use means: having two to seven drinks per week. More than that is risky for the heart and liver. Alcohol is the leading cause of heart disease. A 300 ml bottle of regular soft drink has about 150 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrates. This is the same amount of carbohydrates contained in 10 teaspoons of sugar. So limiting the intake of all the beverages or knowing how much to take is necessary.

8. What your daily food habit should contain?

In a perfect world each meal and snack should have:

  • Vegetables or fruit: Fill half of your plate with these. They’re high in fiber and water, so they’ll take up lots of space in your stomach without contributing too many calories to your diet.
  • Lean protein: Your plate should have a serving that’s about the size of your palm. Good sources include Greek yogurt, eggs, chicken, and fish. (Try these 5 one-dish fish recipes to keep mealtime interesting.)
  • Complex carbohydrates: Your plate should have a serving that’s the size of your closed fist. Whole grains, beans, fresh fruit, and starchy veggies (like sweet potatoes) are all good choices.
  • Healthy fats: These can add up quickly when you’re trying to lose weight, so it’s worth measuring your fats. Aim for 7 to 10 grams every time you eat. That’s 1½ tsp of olive oil, a quarter of an avocado, or two tablespoons of nuts or seeds.

9. You need to have sleep more, stress less mantra

This may be the hardest part. There are plenty of things you can try. Melatonin and or magnesium at night.  Massages.  Yoga.  Meditation.  Hot baths before bed.  Black out windows and cooler temperature in your bedroom.  A good shrink.  There’s really no shortage of suggestions.  It may be time to experiment if you’re not getting enough good sleep. Sleep recovers your muscles and helps in relaxation. It is necessary to not stress over anything and give yourself adequate rest for the proper functioning of your body parts.

10. The proper meal plans

Sample Breakfast and Snack Foods

Forty year old men and women can begin the day with a bowl of high-fiber steel cut oatmeal or 3/4 cup of shredded wheat cereal. Prepare either choice with skim milk to help meet your 800 to 1,000 mg of calcium requirement each day. Avoid eating whole eggs daily for breakfast if your doctor has told you to limit your cholesterol intake. The Mayo Clinic indicates that the cholesterol in one egg has more than 100 percent of the cholesterol intake recommended for adults with high cholesterol. Eat egg whites or zero cholesterol egg substitutes if you enjoy cooked eggs for breakfast. Healthy, low-sodium snacks include unsalted almonds or walnuts, raw fruits or cut-up vegetables with homemade hummus, low-sodium cheese sticks or yogurt.

Lunch and Dinner

Fiber-rich foods may help you lose weight, and keep your cholesterol levels under control, according to the Harvard Medical School. Quick, on-the-go lunches for a busy mom, dad or executive include brown rice and vegetable wraps, chicken and mustard sandwiches on reduced-calorie 100 percent whole-wheat bread or salads topped with balsamic vinegar. Healthy, low-calorie dinners that you can eat while dining out or cooking at home include small servings of pasta with tomato-based sauces, grilled seafood and steamed vegetables, baked chicken and sweet potatoes or spinach and couscous salads. Take a walk after lunch or dinner to help increase your metabolic rate and burn calories. If you are a female over 40, walking can help you keep your bone density from falling as you age.

8 diet foods women should take after 40

1. Eating fish is recommended for women in their middle age

As Heart disease risk is likely to rise after menopause, so you should try to eat at least two servings of fish per week (preferably those with healthy fats like salmon or trout). “Women may want to give [fish oil] supplements a try if having two servings of fish a week is problematic,” says JoAnn Manson, MD, chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston. Preliminary research suggests that fish oil may also help prevent breast cancer. Aim for two servings of fish a week—and talk to your doctor about whether or not you should try a supplement.

2. Calcium foods are good to intake

Your calcium needs go up after age 50, from 1,000 milligrams per day to 1,200 mg. “With less estrogen on board, your bones don’t absorb calcium as well,” says Dr. Minkin. If you have a cup of low-fat milk, one latte, and one 8-ounce yogurt, you’re getting around 1,100 mg calcium. This means you need to take only an additional 100 mg of supplements a day—less than one caplet’s worth—to make up the difference. If you’re eating dairy, choose low-fat products. These have roughly the same amount of calcium as their full-fat counterparts, but with fewer calories.

3. Incorporating foods which never give you bloating

“About 100% of my patients going through menopause complain of bloating,” says Dr. Minkin. Although the reasons aren’t clear, fluctuating hormones during perimenopause may play a role. Dr. Minkin recommends cutting the amount of salt and processed carbohydrates in your diet, as they can make you retain water. But don’t skimp on whole grains, which are rich in heart-healthy fiber, as well as fruits and vegetables. If healthy food, such as apples and broccoli, make you feel bloated, Dr. Minkin suggests taking Mylanta or Gas-X to combat gas buildup.

4. Say yes to soy

Soy contains plant estrogens, so many women think it can increase their breast cancer risk, says Dr. Minkin. However, there is little data to support this. The misconception likely comes from studies of high-dose soy supplements, which may stimulate the growth of estrogen-sensitive tumors.

Soy foods like tofu, soy nuts, and soy milk may offer relief from mild hot flashes and are not thought to increase breast cancer risk. “Women in Japan have the highest soy intake and the lowest risk of breast cancer, but Japanese women who move to the U.S. and eat less soy have a higher risk,” adds Dr. Minkin.

5. You need to try iced herbal tea

A warm cup of joy might be as much a part of your breakfast routine as brushing your teeth. Still, starting your day with a piping-hot drink may not be the best idea during menopause. “In general, warm beverages seem to trigger hot flashes,” says Dr. Manson. “And the caffeine in coffee and tea could also be having an effect.” Cover your bases by swapping your morning cup with something cool and decaffeinated—like a Tazo Shaken Iced Passion Tea.

6. Add lentils to your diet

Legumes are also loaded with fiber. While all beans are all good sources, lentils and split peas are tops when it comes to digestion-aiding fiber.

7. Start using Olive oil

Plant-based oils are another good source of healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids which causes lower rates of diabetes. While soybean and sunflower oil pack a lot of polysaturated fatty acids, preferring olive oil over them is a good idea.

8. Eating Kale for good health

When it comes to healthful nutrients, kale has few equals. Perhaps most helpfully, kale is loaded with alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), an antioxidant that helps your body turn glucose into energy and keeps your blood sugar levels in check. Research has linked ALA to lower rates of diabetes, stroke, glaucoma, and other disease.

Foods women should limit after crossing 40

Women who are 40 should limit — or cut entirely — certain foods to help maintain healthy body weights and reduce their risk for chronic diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type-2 diabetes. Foods to limit or avoid include high-fat, high-sodium meats — such as bacon, deli meats and sausage — high-fat dairy products, sweets, sugary drinks, baked goods and refined grains, such as white bread and white rice.

Calorie needs of women at 40

At age 40, most women require between 1,800 and 2,200 calories daily to maintain healthy weights — depending on their activity levels — according to the publication “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010.” To lose weight at a safe rate — about 1 to 2 pounds a week — women can reduce their current calorie intakes by 500 to 1,000 calories each day. Thus, 40-year-old women seeking weight loss often require between 1,200 and 1,600 calories a day to lose weight.

Thus, it is necessary for a woman to check her health and food habits to stay healthy always.