Women’s Health and Nutrition for Every Age
*This content is brought to you by Herbalife Nutrition*
As teenagers, we could get by on a diet of pizza, chips, and fast food without much thought. But as we move through life, nutrition becomes increasingly important and our nutritional needs change.
There are simple changes we can make every day to keep us feeling at our best through our 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond.
Developing Good Habits in Your 20s
Drink enough fluids.
When you’re rushing between school, work, and social activities, it’s easy to forget to hydrate. Carrying a water bottle with you can encourage you to drink and help you meet your fluid needs, which are about two litres per day.
And keep in mind that other fluids count, too. Despite what you may have heard, even caffeinated coffee and tea count as part of your fluid intake but try to avoid the excess calories that often lurk in flavoured coffees or many bottled beverages.
Nutrient essentials: calcium and potassium
Calcium is a nutrient many women don’t get enough of – at all ages. But you’re still building bone through your mid-20s, and your maximum bone density is reached at about age 30, so this is a good time to focus on this essential nutrient.
Keep your bones strong by getting at least 1,000 mg of calcium each day. Milk is one of the richest calcium sources, but other foods like firm tofu, leafy greens and almonds all supply calcium as well.
Similarly, potassium is essential for the proper function of your heart and skeletal muscles, and it also supports healthy blood pressure. Potassium is abundant in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, but many women don’t consume enough of these foods every day. Try to add more high-potassium foods like bananas, beans and tomatoes to your diet.
Eating Healthy in Your 30s
In your 30s, metabolism starts to slow as you naturally begin to lose muscle mass, so you may find that maintaining your weight starts to become a challenge. Swap refined carbs (white bread, pastries) for whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables, and replace sugary beverages with water or plain tea.
Nutrient essentials: protein and iron
Muscle mass declines by about 5 percent each decade starting in your 30s. Weight training is important at any age, but if resistance exercise is not part of your usual routine, this is a good time to add it in.
Maintaining adequate muscle mass is essential to retaining strength and mobility as you age. To help preserve muscle mass, add resistance training into your workouts a couple of times a week and eat adequate amounts of protein, which helps mitigate muscle loss.
Iron is another nutrient that many women do not get enough of. Iron makes up part of the haemoglobin molecule, a protein that circulates in the blood and serves to transport oxygen to cells. Premenopausal women lose iron every month through their cycles, and many don’t get enough iron in the diet to meet daily needs. Lean meats and beans and lentils are a great way to add more iron to your diet.
Maintaining Good Health in Your 40s and beyond
Protect your heart.
Cholesterol and blood pressure tend to rise as you get closer to menopause. Protect your heart with regular exercise and heart-healthy foods. Good choices include dark leafy greens, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables.
If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation (one drink per day for women) and cut down on saturated fats, which are found in red meats, full-fat dairy products, and many processed and fried foods.
Nutrient essentials: vitamin D and antioxidants.
Keep an eye on vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium and keeps your immune system strong. Vitamin D stores tend to decline as women hit their 40s so try adding in dairy products, fatty fish and egg yolks to your diet.
For more healthy lifestyle tips, please visit: https://www.herbalife.com.au/healthy-living/articles/
Susan Bowerman M.S., RD, CSSD, CSOWM, FAND – is the Sr. Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife Nutrition