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Nutrition Essentials for Women in their 50s and beyond



During menopause, the body undergoes hormonal shifts, particularly a decrease in estrogen levels. These changes can affect various aspects of health:


1.      Bone Density: Lower estrogen levels accelerate bone loss, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.


2.      Muscle Mass: Aging and hormonal changes contribute to a decline in muscle mass and strength.


3.      Metabolism: Metabolic rate often slows down, leading to weight gain if dietary habits are not adjusted.


4.      Heart Health: The risk of cardiovascular disease rises post-menopause due to changes in cholesterol levels and blood pressure.


5.      Digestive Health: Hormonal changes can affect digestion and nutrient absorption, leading to issues like bloating and constipation.


6.      Mood and Cognitive Function: Fluctuating hormones can impact mood, memory, and cognitive function.


The Nutrients Women Need Post Menopause

The following nutrients are critical to protect the bones, protect or even increase muscle mass, maintain a healthy metabolism, protect the heart, maintain healthy digestion, and help keep mood and cognitive function stable.


Calcium for Bone Protection:

Why: Bone density tends to decrease with age, making calcium crucial for maintaining strong bones and preventing osteoporosis.

How: Whereas women in their 30s and 40s are recommended to aim for 1,000 mg of calcium per day; women 5L 0 and older should aim for 1,200 mg.

Sources: Low fat milk, Greek yogurt, low fat cheese, fortified plant-based milks (almond, soy) and dark green, leafy vegetables.


Protein for Muscle Maintenance

Why: Muscle mass decreases with age and hormonal changes.

How: Aim for 0.8 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

Sources: Lean meats, fish, beans, legumes, tofu, low-fat dairy.


Fiber for Digestive Health

Why: Hormonal changes can slow digestion and cause constipation.

How: Aim for at least 21 grams of fiber per day.

Sources: Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds.


Healthy Fats for Heart Health

Why: Post-menopausal women have an increased risk of heart disease.

How: Focus on monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Sources: Olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, fatty fish like salmon.


B Vitamins for Energy and Brain Health

Why: B vitamins, especially B12, are important for energy and cognitive function.

How: Include foods rich in B vitamins and consider a supplement if needed.

Sources: Lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, fortified cereals.


Phytoestrogens for Hormonal Balance

Why: Phytoestrogens can mimic estrogen and help balance hormones.

How: Incorporate phytoestrogen-rich foods into your diet.

Sources: Soy products like tofu, tempeh, edamame, flaxseeds, legumes.


Maintaining a Balanced Diet and Hydration

Why: A balanced diet ensures you get all necessary nutrients. And hydration ensures you absorb the nutrients

How: Focus on a variety of whole foods and limit processed foods, added sugars, and excessive salt.

Sources: A mix of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats.

Menopause is a natural phase of life that requires adjustments to your nutritional approach. By focusing on specific nutrients and maintaining a balanced diet, you can manage menopausal symptoms and support long-term health.


Remember, small dietary changes can make a significant difference in how you feel and function. If you would like the support of a Registered Dietitian to help manage the symptoms of menopause, click here to contact Kelly’s Choice today; most insurance policies cover one-on-one tele-health sessions with our dietitians.


Reources:

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. (2018). "Calcium and Vitamin D: Important at Every Age." Available at: https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/nutrition/calcium-and-vitamin-d-important-every-age

Bauer, J., et al. (2018). "Evidence-Based Recommendations for Optimal Dietary Protein Intake in Older People: A Position Paper From the PROT-AGE Study Group." Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 14(8), 542-559. Available at: https://www.jamda.com/article/S1525-8610(13)00326-5/fulltext

American Heart Association. (2018). "Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association." Circulation, 136(3), e1-e23. Available at: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000510

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