“Well Mrs. Foster, you can’t keep doing what you’ve been doing. There are going to be some changes you need to make, since your body is changing as well.”

The words of my mother’s doctor didn’t quite make sense to me at the time, but little did I know the changes he meant were going to affect our entire family. She had just turned 50, and didn’t find anything wrong with her current routine, but his suggestions were ones that were looking long term, towards a happy, healthy life.

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Many women find that their lifestyle habits that worked well in their 20s and 30s don’t always result in the same outcomes as years continue to pass. Between hormones and hot flashes, there is lot that changes in these years that can increase risk for heart disease and stroke. But the following tips are designed to help maintain your weight, keep a healthy heart, and a strong and happy life!

Consider B12Grilled Fish Entree in Barcelona

  • B12 is a vitamin needed to support healthy blood and nerve cells
  • As we age, it becomes more difficult to absorb certain nutrients, including B12
  • Try to get your daily dose from fish and other lean meats or a supplement if vegan or vegetarian

Be Salt Savvy

About 72% of salt in the American diet comes from processed foods
Diet plus age puts us at increased risk for hypertension and heart disease
Aim for about 1500 mg or less of salt per day
Try switching salt for some flavorful herbs and new recipes
Reducing processed foods also means more whole foods, helping you to stay fuller longer

Watch Iron Intake

  • The average woman begins experiencing menopause around age 50
  • This means the body’s iron needs are significantly decreased
  • Check your multivitamin for iron, and ask your doctor if the levels are too high
  • While the body needs iron, too much can cause liver and heart damage

How-To-Avoid-OsteoporosisCalcium is Your Friend

Vitamin D and calcium in the body begin to decline around age 40
More post-menopausal women are at risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures
It’s never too late to start adding rich sources of calcium into your diet:

 Spinach
 Broccoli
 Kale
 Low Fat/Fat Free milk and yogurt

Go Mediterranean!

  • As we age, our blood vessels become less elastic
  • This means women in or beyond menopause are at an increased risk of heart disease
  • Studies have shown that adding Mediterranean eating habits into one’s diet can be especially helpful in prevention and associated with longer survival without disease
  • This includes a large consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and moderate wine

Of course, you don’t have to be 50 to use these tips for yourself and your family member, you can start today! It’s never too late to adopt some of these practices. While it would be a great stress relief to go on a cruise to the Mediterranean, it’s an even bigger one to know that your habits now will help your heart down the line.

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