It’s no secret that what you eat has a direct impact on your health. This connection becomes even more apparent as we age. As our bodies change, so do our nutritional needs. Here are some healthy eating basics for women over 50.
Some of the bodily changes women over fifty experience include:
- slower metabolism
- reduced bone density
- muscle loss
- fat retention, often including weight gain
- increased inflammation
- increased likelihood of chronic disease
We can counteract many of these negative changes with proper nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle modifications.
Eating a healthy diet can help you maintain a healthy weight, have more energy, and avoid diseases.
With all of the conflicting information out there about what is “healthy,” how can we know what’s best for us to eat?
It can be hard to know where to start.
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Here are some tips for Healthy Eating Basics for Women Over 50
1. Focus on Whole, Unprocessed Foods
Whole, unprocessed foods are foods that are in their natural state and have not been altered by processing.
They include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Processed foods, on the other hand, are those that have been altered from their natural state. They usually contain added sugars, sodium, and unhealthy fats. Examples of processed foods include packaged snacks, fast food, and soda.
Whenever possible, choose whole, unprocessed foods over processed ones.
This is one of the best things you can do for your health.
2. Limit Added Sugar
Added sugar is a major contributor to poor health.
It’s been linked to weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.
Try to limit your intake of added sugar by avoiding sweetened drinks and high-sugar foods.
If you are going to eat sweet foods, do so with those which are not artificial. For example, focus on foods that are naturally sweet, like fruits and honey.
When you do eat foods that contain sugar, choose small portions and be sure to balance them out with healthier choices.
For example, if you have a slice of cake, pair it with a side of fruit or a glass of milk. This will help you feel fuller and more satisfied after eating.
3. Fill Half Your Plate with Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients that your body needs to function properly.
They’re also low in calories and high in fiber, which makes them great for weight loss.
Aim to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables at every meal.
This will help you get the recommended daily amount of 2-3 cups of fruit and 1-2 cups of vegetables.
If you’re not used to eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, start by adding one or two servings to your meals. Gradually increase your intake over time until you reach the recommended amount.
4. Choose Lean Proteins
Protein is an essential nutrient that helps your body repair and grow cells.
Protein is also critical for all processes in your body, including hormone production, immunity, and digestion. It’s also necessary for weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight.
Not all proteins are created equal.
Some types of protein, like red meat and processed meats, are high in saturated fat and have been linked to health problems.
When choosing protein sources, opt for leaner options, such as chicken, fish, tofu, legumes, and eggs. These are lower in calories and unhealthy fats than their fatty counterparts.
By choosing lean cuts and limiting your intake to a few times per week, you can reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions.
5. Choose Healthy Fats
Here’s a surprise! Not all fats are bad for you.
In fact, there are some healthy fats that are essential for your body. These include unsaturated fats, like those found in olive oil, avocados, and nuts.
Healthy fats can help you lose weight, lower your cholesterol levels, and reduce your risk of heart disease. They can also improve your brain function and help you absorb vitamins and minerals more efficiently.
When adding fat to your diet, be sure to choose healthy fats.
Limit your intake of saturated and trans fats, which have been linked to health problems. And avoid artificial trans fats, which are found in many processed foods.
Focus on getting most of your fat from unsaturated sources.
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Final Thoughts on A Guide to Healthy Eating for Women Over 50
Eating right is one of the most important things you can do for your health.
By choosing whole, unprocessed foods and limiting added sugar, you can reduce your risk of chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables at every meal, and choose lean proteins and healthy fats to round out your diet.
Following these simple guidelines will help you stay healthy and look and feel great.
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Lori is a happily 50+ woman striving to live her best life through self-awareness and self-care. She writes from experience, inspired by her own journey toward confidence, self-love, and positivity.
Holding degrees in Psychology, Education, and Nonprofit Management, Lori’s varied career has covered education administration, counseling, teaching, conference planning, and full-time motherhood. What do these roles all have in common? Caring for other people.
Today, Lori cares for others by promoting the benefits of self-care for mature women. She stands firm in her belief that through self-care, all women over 50 can feel confident, capable, and happy.