Truth be told, I had a significant birthday this year.  But after so many deaths of some of my favorite artists (read David Bowie, Prince, George Michael), I am so grateful to have another year above ground. Below are some simple tips for women hitting the milestone with me.

 

  1. Don’t let your weight creep. Weight gain is very common in perimenopausal women and even worse post menopause.  Maintain your weight from year to year through healthy diet and regular physical activity.  Weight gain has been implicated in several chronic illness including diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.
  1. Eat more fiber. Fiber not only keeps you regular, it also helps curb your appetite, lower blood sugar and cholesterol.  Choose whole grains daily such as bran cereal, whole wheat bread, oatmeal or brown rice.  Try quinoa, bulgur, farrow and other ancient grains.
  1. Get enough calcium and vitamin D from food. Needs for both nutrients increase over the age of 50.  Aim for 3 servings of low fat dairy foods daily such as skim or 1% milk, low fat yogurt or low fat cheese.  Calcium and vitamin D are not only good for strong bones, but also aid in lowering blood pressure and risk for heart disease.
  1. Eat more colorful fruits and vegetables. A diet high in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity and some cancers.  Choose dark green leafy vegetables often such as kale, collard greens, broccoli and Brussels sprouts as these are the most nutrient dense.  Enjoy seasonal produce such as citrus, apples, pineapple and pears.
  1. Eat healthy fats. Saturated and trans fat are both solid at room temperature and have been implicated in the development of heart disease, colon and breast cancer.  Choose more nuts, seeds, avocados, olive and canola oil
  1. Go easy on sugar. Drop the muffin, or expect a “muffin top”.  Excess sugar from sweetened beverages, desserts and even juice can add extra weight around your middle, which not only looks unattractive, it also increases your risk for heart disease and diabetes.  Enjoy a treat now and then, but choose fruit when possible if you’ve got a sweet tooth.
  1. Reduce booze. While an occasional cocktail is OK, regular alcohol consumption increases your risk for breast and other cancers.  It also increases abdominal weight gain and can ruin your skin over time.
  1. Move it. Exercise not only whittles your middle, it also improves cognitive function, improves sleep and reduces risk for depression.  Find a buddy to walk with or join a class to keep you motivated.
  1. Drink more water. We all know we need water, yet most of us don’t drink enough.  Aim for at least 6 cups of plain water per day.  Dehydration can trigger your appetite and makes skin look dry and sallow.
  1. Be sensible about sodium. Experts believe we’ll all have high blood pressure if we live past the age of 70.  High sodium foods have also been implicated in calcium loss from bone.  Limit use of frozen meals, fast food, snacks and other processed foods.

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