Related Topics: Diabetes, Features, Menopause, Nutrition

What Do You Know About Nutrition After 50?

Menopause can mean your metabolism slows down, and you’re more likely to lose muscle mass and see changes in your weight. Here’s what can help.

AnnA Rushton

After 50, your body doesn’t digest food the way it did when you were younger. Your metabolism slows down, and you’re more likely to lose muscle mass and see changes in your weight.

As a result, it takes a little more thought and effort to make sure you get enough nutrition and stay a healthy weight, something women are very aware of at menopause when extra weight tends to settle on the stomach, abdomen and thighs.

This naturally occurs as the body shifts production of oestrogen from the declining ovaries into the fat cells, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it.

Rebalancing excess oestrogen with progesterone can certainly be effective as it is a natural diuretic so it helps to reduce weight as excess water is expelled.

Potential health risks over 50

Conditions related to unhealthy diets — like diabetes, obesity, heart attacks, and strokes — tend to happen more often as we age. So people over 50 need to watch their calories a bit more closely and eat less food with added sugar or a lot of solid fats, like the ones in butter.

Women over 50 who are moderately active should eat 1800 calories a day. For women, that number is about 1,800 calories

We tend to think we know a lot about nutrition but there are still some misconceptions that might be affecting your weight.

Do you know if these are fact or fiction?

Myth 1: Since my metabolism is slower, I need to eat less.

Not necessarily, though as you age, it may be harder for your body to take in and use vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12, calcium, zinc, or iron. And some medications can make that even harder.

Plus, many adults don’t get enough vitamin D, which you need for bone and muscle strength. This is usually because they don’t have enough dairy in their diets or they don’t get out in the sun often.

That means you may need to eat more of some things and less of others to make sure you get the right nutrition. For example, you may need to eat more protein and get more exercise to make up for the loss of muscle mass, or you may need more fruit and vegetables in your diet.

Myth 2: Supplements are good for you, so more is better.

Since your body has a harder time getting nutrients from food as you age, it is important to find out if you are absorbing them well or not.

Supplements can help, but they are not a substitute for a healthy diet and just increasing the amount isn’t always a good thing. For instance if you are taking calcium supplements then although you may absorb much of it at first if you keep increasing the dose it’ll come out in the urine and it  but it can increase your risk of having kidney stones in the process.

If you are not sure about your supplement regime talk to a nutritionist for expert advice.

Myth 3: I’m not hungry right now. It’s OK to skip a meal.

There are benefits to keeping a regular schedule for eating so you keep your metabolism functioning efficiently.

Skipping an occasional meal may be ok, but aim for the three main nutrition points with breakfast, lunch and dinner that contain all the essential elements you need for optimum health, and few of the ‘treats’ we love but are not so good such as cakes, biscuits and frequent sugary snacks.

Myth 4: It’s too late to change my habits.

While we may regret not starting a healthy regime later, it is literally never too late. The late John Lee, MD who pioneered the use of cream bioidentical progesterone, saw patients in their 80’s with osteoporosis and who gained benefit from starting to take better care of their bones.

But while it may be tougher to change some habits the longer you’ve had them, it is never too late or too early to work on nutritional or behavioural changes in any phase of life.

If you’re worried about your weight, go with foods that pack a lot of nutrition without a lot of calories. These “nutrient-dense” foods include fruit and vegetables, whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice, and beans and nuts. Lean meat, eggs, and seafood also fall into this category, along with low-fat milk and cheese.

Things that don’t add any nutritional value but add calories will be satisfying and make you feel full, and then you will become deficient in nutrients that are important.

That means reducing sugary drinks or desserts and foods made from refined grains, like white bread or pasta. These just give you a lot more calories with less nutritional value.

Myth 5: It’s all about diet.

Good nutrition is important, but lots of things can affect how well you eat as you age.

Losing teeth might make it harder to you give up certain foods, for example, or your senses of taste and smell may change as you get older too.

If you have more problems getting around there is less inclination to go out to the shops often for fresh food so may stock up more with ready made meals.

Don’t discount the emotional issues either as financial problems, depression, or isolation are more common as people age, too.  Loneliness is a directly related to poor nutrition so it’s so important for us all to stay involved and in contact with friends and family.

Helpful information:

We are all more aware now of what we need to do to stay healthy, but knowing it and doing it are not always easy.

If you are having menopausal issues linked to oestrogen dominance such as night sweats, flushes and weight gain it is very easy to want some comfort food so if you want some help then the articles below will be useful.

Get Ready To Lose Weight Fast For Summer

The Diet To Help Beat Oestrogen Dominance

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