Diet plan – Women above the age of 50
How women above the age of 50 can lose weight?
Women above the age of 50 are experiencing numerous metabolic and hormonal changes. Metabolism slows down as you age (especially in women). Metabolism slows down 5 %, every decade after you turn 40 years. The most important change is that your body is getting ready for menopause that typically occurs in the late 40s or early 50s. The ovarian supply of eggs decreases and the ovaries produce fewer hormones (estrogen and progesterone). These hormones have a significant impact on the metabolism in women.
Estrogen has a positive effect on metabolism (speeds up metabolism). During menopause estrogen levels start to decline which slows down your metabolism. During menopause, ovarian secretion of estrogen ends. However, as your body still needs estrogen, it is created elsewhere – in fat cells.
During menopause, your ovaries stop producing estrogen but they continue to produce male hormones androgens (testosterone) which is transported in fat cells. Fat cells synthetize enzyme called aromatase which converts androgens in estrogen. Therefore, during menopause your brain sends signals to the body to preserve fat cells at all costs and to convert all excess calories into fat, so they can create estrogen. Therefore, now significantly more fat will be accumulated in your body. Another important change is that due to lack of estrogen, you will now have increased androgens (male hormones) levels, which leads to belly fat accumulation.
Estrogen also has a major impact on bones and it inhibits bone resorption. Lower estrogen levels means increased numbers and activity of osteoclasts (osteoclasts resorb bone tissue – break down bone). Bone resorption means a breaking down bones and releasing minerals from bones (calcium and phosphorus) and their transfer to the blood. If your bones lose calcium, it makes them weaker, thinner and brittle, therefore there is a greater risk for fractures. Also, decrease in estrogen levels, makes your skin more sensitive, and makes your teeth more susceptible to caries which can make your teeth loosen and fall out. It is important to known that drop of estrogen levels in the blood increases the risk of heart attack. That is why proper nutrition is very important at this age.
Foods to eat and foods to avoid
To compensate the decrease in estrogen levels, you should eat vegetables and fruits that are high in a key compounds called flavonoids because flavonoids have a similar effect and activity as estrogen. Flavonoids also have an antioxidant effect (prevent cell damage from free radicals reactions), anti-inflammatory effect (reduce inflammation in the body), cardioprotective effect (protect the heart and blood vessels) and the antihypertensive effect (lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure). Flavonoids besides they acting like estrogen and preventing obesity, have many others health benefits, therefore you need to add foods rich in flavonoids to your diet.
Fruits and vegetables rich in flavonoids include:
- green tea (it is the largest single source of flavonoids) and others.
Any thermal processing of these foods (cooking, baking, roasting), decrease the levels of flavonoids in them, therefore you should eat fresh food if possible.
Also benefit of taking fresh lemon juice (no sugar added) has been shown if taken half an hour before each meal. Lemon juice is very rich in flavonoids and can speed up your metabolism, reduce fat accumulation and prevent your cholesterol levels from becoming high, lower your blood sugar levels and lower your level of insulin resistance.
Taking bee products in women above the age of 50, can have many health benefits. Bee products can reduce bacterial dental plaque (the main cause of dental caries) and gingivitis (gum inflammation). Bee products also have antioxidant effect and prevent atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attack or stroke! The best way of using bee products is to dissolve a tablespoon of honey (use only a wooden tablespoon) in a glass of lukewarm water and add 20 drops of propolis extract. Prepare this beverage and drink it before breakfast in the morning. Regular drinking of this beverage will help you strengthen the immune system and help you prevent the development of atherosclerosis. Also, numerous studies have shown that bee products reduce the risk of cancer (especially breast and prostate cancer).
Avoid canned foods, fruits and vegetables that are sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals, fatty and spicy foods. Avoid white bread, rice, spaghetti, macaroni and other pasta. Avoid fast food (hamburgers, french fries, fried chicken, pancakes and other foods). Avoid eating fast food more than once a week. Do not drink carbonated drinks. Drink only freshly squeezed juice. Besides the lemonade you should also drink at least one glass of freshly squeezed orange juice each day.
You also need to be physically active (walking recommended) for at least an hour a day. Manage your time and make sure to build one hour walking into your daily routine. It has been shown that physical activity at least half an hour each day, increases the number of calories your body burns even when you are not physically active.
If you are obese and you have decided to lose weight, make sure you do not use extreme weight loss diets (losing a more than 1,000 calories a day). Women in their 50s, on average, require 1800 to 2200 calories per day. Use the diets where you take in about 500-750 calories less than you are estimated to burn.
In this way you will lose one kilogram (one pound) of weight for 5-7 days. If you are on an extreme diet (in which you take in 1000 calories and more than you are estimated to burn), you can cause a variety of disorders in your body. Diet should always be healthy (not extreme), to ensure you get sufficient amounts of all the vitamins you need, as well as minerals and other substances that are needed for the body to function while you are losing calories.
To increase bone strength, you should take low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheese, low-fat milk, fish (recommended salmon or sardines), kale, broccolis and freshly squeezed orange juice every day. These foods are rich in calcium, and your needs for calcium is increased when your estrogen levels is decreased. The recommended calcium intake in women above the age of 50 is 1200-1500 mg of calcium daily. By taking these foods, you will get enough calcium for your body’s needs, therefore you may prevent osteoporosis (weakening of bones due to loss of calcium which makes bones more susceptible to fractures).
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