They say 40 is the new 30. But there is no getting around it – as you get older, so does your body and it becomes more and more difficult to maintain your weight or lose a few pounds. It doesn’t matter whether you are 25 or 50 years old – a balanced and healthy diet is always important. Losing weight is hard for everyone, but at 40 it can be a real challenge at times. Maybe the delicious pasta for dinner will lead to a bloated stomach and the scales will immediately show 1-2 kilos more the next morning? You are not alone! To stay healthy and fit, it is very important to adapt your diet to your needs and lifestyle from the age of 40. In our article we will tell you which foods you should include in your menu and many helpful tips.
As you age, both your nutritional needs and your metabolism change – it slows down and the body no longer burns calories as efficiently. The end result is that while you are on the same diet as you were 5 years ago, it no longer works. Scientific studies have shown that women over the age of 40 lose an average of 0.5 kg of muscle per year. That makes losing weight even more difficult. According to the University of California, being overweight can lead to a variety of diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help boost your metabolism, increase your energy levels, and minimize the risk of illness. The perfect diet for everyone doesn’t exist – while what works best for one woman doesn’t work at all for another. However, there are some nutrients that are essential components of a healthy diet from the age of 40.
Diet for 40+ – Why you should change your eating habits?
No matter whether man or woman – everyone over 40 will feel it. Even if people haven’t changed their eating habits and exercise, they still gain an average of 1 kilo per year. Isn’t that annoying? The main reason for this is that body composition and metabolism change over the years. However, that doesn’t happen overnight – the metabolism slows down by 5% every 10 years from the age of 25. Since the body can no longer break down sugar and carbohydrates so well, the risk of type 2 diabetes also increases by 5%, especially if there is also weight gain. At the age of 40, the female estrogen level also drops and this in turn can lead to fat storage in the abdominal area. Harvard University researchers have found that hormonal changes caused by perimenopause and menopause contribute to fat accumulation. The solution? Eat more high fiber foods and stay active.
Evaluate your current eating style and think about your previous eating habits – this is the only way to choose the diet that suits your needs. Not sure where to start? Below are a few helpful tips on how to eat a healthy diet for women over 40.
- Try to consume at least 5 servings of fresh vegetables and fruits a day.
- Use low-fat dairy products and prepare the dishes with low fat content. Grilling, baking and steaming are always better than deep-frying.
- Eliminate fast food and ready meals from the menu and drink alcohol in healthy proportions.
- Protein is essential for a healthy diet over 40 – every meal should contain at least one protein-rich food. Think eggs, fish, lean meat, or nuts and legumes as vegan sources of protein.
- Less than 5% of your daily calories can come from processed foods or desserts.
- Watch your sodium intake – it can’t be more than 2,300 milligrams per day.
Healthy fats and proteins should definitely be on your menu
A common myth in the nutrition world is that fat makes us fat. But the truth is that our bodies depend on healthy fats. In addition, fats and essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 play a crucial role in the hormonal balance and protect the blood vessels from deposits. Fatty fish such as salmon and herring, nuts, avocado and vegetable oils such as flaxseed are excellent natural sources of healthy fats and should not be missing in a diet from the age of 40.
According to surveys, every third woman over the age of 45 eats far too little protein. A protein-rich diet not only helps build muscle and lose weight, it also strengthens the immune system and stimulates hormone production. With the onset of perimenopause at the latest, the body can no longer absorb the proteins as effectively. That’s why the right diet should contain enough healthy and high-quality proteins from the age of 40. A mix of vegetable and animal protein suppliers would be ideal to stay healthy and fit in old age. Health experts recommend around 1.0 to 1.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Diet for women aged 40 and over – which minerals and vitamins does the body need?
Women over 40 are more often affected by a vitamin or mineral deficiency than men. Which vitamins are particularly problematic and which foods you should rely on can be found below.
- Calcium – Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is important for maintaining bone density. As women age, their bones become thinner and the risk of diseases such as osteoporosis increases. Good sources of calcium are leafy greens, nuts, seeds, broccoli, and hard cheese.
- Iron – All women aged 40 and over have an increased iron requirement. According to doctors, the diet for women over 40 should include around 18 milligrams of iron per day. Red meat, leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds are particularly rich in iron.
- Folic acid is essential for a healthy diet for women over 40, because too little of it can lead to a disturbed and slowed metabolism. Folic acid is found primarily in vegetables such as tomatoes, cabbage, and asparagus, as well as soybeans, peas, and whole grain products.
Helpful tips to stay fit and healthy in old age
Diet is not the only thing that is important to staying healthy and fit after a certain age. The rest of your habits also play a crucial role in this.
- Adjust the calorie requirement – As mentioned earlier, over the years, the metabolism slows down and the body uses far fewer calories. So the most helpful and important tip for the diet over 40 is to reduce calories.
- Eat slowly and with pleasure – Eating slowly, avoiding distractions while eating, or putting down your fork in between meals will help you learn to listen to your body’s signals. Intuitive eating helps us recognize when we are really hungry and full.
- Only drink alcohol in moderation – Alcohol draws water out of the body and slows down the metabolism. From the age of 40, the liver no longer functions as it used to and the alcohol cannot be broken down as quickly. 1 glass of wine or 1 beer is still okay and can even have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system.
- Stay active – While this tip seems obvious, exercise and diet over 40 isn’t just about the amount of exercise, it’s also about the type of exercise. Strength training with light weights prevents muscle breakdown and stimulates the metabolism. Try to exercise for about 2-3 hours to strengthen connective tissue. Take longer walks and do without the car more often.
- Get enough sleep and reduce stress – From a certain age onwards, you should ensure that not only your body but also your brain remains fit and healthy. Insufficient sleep has a negative effect on the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which regulate our appetite. A disturbed hormone balance can lead to food cravings and weight gain. Too much stress leads to increased levels of cortisol – a hormone that can also lead to weight gain in the abdominal area.
Proper nutrition from 40 – these foods should be included in your diet
In addition to the tips above, eating certain foods can improve your overall health from the age of 40.
- linseed are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and are very important for heart health. In addition, flaxseeds are loaded with healthy fiber, which helps you feel full longer and keeps intestinal health in check.
- Avocados and Nuts – Raw nuts and avocados are very high in fat, but contain the essential omega-3 fatty acids and stimulate the metabolism. The high potassium content in avocados makes for beautiful skin and can lower high blood pressure. A serving of 30 grams of nuts per day reduces the risk of chronic conditions like diabetes.
- Sauerkraut – For a healthy intestinal flora, fermented probiotic foods are very important for the diet from the age of 40. Scientific studies have confirmed that the healthy bacteria it contains strengthen the immune system, stimulate digestion and improve the complexion of the skin.
- Chilli – No matter whether fresh or ground – even small amounts of chilli have a positive effect on the metabolism. The piquant capsaicini contained in it can increase the heat generation in the body by up to 25%, which leads to higher calorie consumption.
- Eggs are a real all-rounder when it comes to nutrition from 40. They contain vitamin D for bone health, choline for brain function, and proteins for maintaining muscle mass.
- Carrots are filled with beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A – a vitamin that supports the immune system and promotes eye health.
- Dark chocolate – Chocolate may not be the first thing that crosses your mind when thinking about proper nutrition for women over 40. However, dark chocolate is rich in flavonols, which protect your heart, reduce the risk of diabetes, and lower blood pressure. To benefit from these advantages, choose varieties with at least 70% cocoa content.
Healthy nutrition from 40 men – a few more helpful tips at a glance
In men aged 40 and over, too, the metabolism changes radically and hormone production decreases. Hence, it is important to make some changes in your eating habits. While the above tips and foods apply to both sexes, men should still pay extra attention to their heart health. It seems that most middle-aged men are unaware of the dangers of heart diseases such as high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. To reduce the risk, try to get enough sleep and reduce stress. Try to avoid processed and salty foods. According to doctors, men over 40 years of age are not allowed to consume more than 6 grams of salt per day.