As your age, your metabolism slows down, you begin to lose muscle mass, and your hormone levels go a bit wonky, making your more prone to weight gain, mood changes, and health problems you may not have dealt with during your younger years. Fortunately, there are things you can do to increase your fat-burning capabilities, stabilize your energy, and minimize your disease risk.
In addition to following a regular exercise routine, getting enough sleep, and reducing your stress levels, eating antioxidant-rich foods can help you curb hunger and cravings while improving your overall health. So what foods should go on your plate? Sarah Mirkin, R.D.N., author of ‘Fill Your Plate, Lose The Weight’, a 210day weight loss plan for women over 40, shared her favorite nutritional all – stars. Rom dark chocolate to salmon to vibrant berries, these foods are full of flavors and age-reversing nutrients.
Flaxseeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essentials fats, for a sharp mind and healthy heart. Plus, they’re great for your gut. ‘As we age, it’s more important to eat the right foods to keep your gut health in check’, says Mirkin. ‘Flaxseeds are loaded with fiber for long-term digestive health’.
Fatty fish, like salmon, are rich in omega-3s and a good source of clean protein. And while fat has more than double the calories of protein and carbohydrates, it is key to keeping your cravings in check. ‘Salmon is not only satisfying and delicious, but it will also make your skin glow, reduce your skin of disease, and even curb your hunger’, Mirkin says.
Pracked with healthy fats, avocados can help keep your skin plump, nourish your hair, and help lower blood pressure, thanks to their decent potassium content. ‘Although avocados are very high in fat, they are linked with weight loss because they are so satisfying’, says Mirkin.
Nuts make a filling snack that promotes weight loss because they’re high in fiber, healthy fats, and protein. Bonus: The nutrients in nuts help reduce your risk of chronic conditions, like diabetes and heart disease, says Mirkin.
Shake up you go-to salad with this peppery leafy green while keeping your skin glowing in the process. ‘It’s packed with water, vitamin C, vitamin A, and antioxidants that kill free radicals’, Mirkin says, one of the main aggressors of premature skin damage.
Made from fermented cabbage, this tangy condiment is packed with gut-boosting probiotics – a.k.a. good bacteria – making it a nutritional must- have for women over 40. Research shows that these that healthy bugs may improve your immune function, mood, digestive system, and even your skin.
Chocolate may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to better nutrition after 40, but this after-dinner indulgence can actually do wonders for your health. ‘Dark chocolate is rich in falvonols, which protect your heart, reduce the risk of diabetes, and lower blood pressure’, Mirkin says. Stick to chocolate bars that contain at least 70% cocoa and less than 6 grams of added sugar to get the most nutritional bang out of every serving.
Dark Leafy Greens
‘Dark leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and mustard greens, contain high amounts of vitamin K, lutein, folate, calcium, and beta carotene, which can preserve memory functioning’, says Mirkin.
Berries will naturally brighten your dish and supply hunger-curbing fiber to satisfy sweet cravings. Their gem-like hues are a great indicator of their nutrient concentration. ‘Dark pigmentation and rich color means the berries are high in disease – fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals’, Mirkin explains.
Garlic is a serious wellness wonder especially for women over 40. ‘Studies suggests that garlic can minimize bone loss by increasing estrogen levels. It is also nutrient-rich with very few calories and adds flavor to foods so you’re satisfied with less’, Mirkin says.
Edamame packs 9 grams of muscle building plant protein in just ½ cup for less than 100 calories. These versatile soybeans are also a great source of folate (vitamin B9), iron, vitamins C and A, and potassium for your heart.
Keep your bones strong with a serving of rich and creamy Greek yogurt every day. ‘It’s an excellent source of calcium and contains almost no sodium’, Mirkin says. Greek yogurt packs more proteina and has a thicker consistency than other yogurts, so it’s the perfect snack for keeping you full and energized. Plus, it has active cultures that support gut health.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Is there anything more delicious the EVOO drizzled over warm, crusty bread? A staple of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil is rich in unsaturated fats that have anti-aging inflammatory properties to promote longevity and optimal heart health.
Any way you scramble it, eggs are a nutritional multitasker. They contain vitamin D for bone health, choline for brain function, and protein for preserving muscle. Mirkin suggests scrambling one egg with three eggs white for a slimming and filling breakfast. ‘The high fat and protein content (plus lack of carbohydrates and sugar) in eggs makes them an excellent choice for women over 40’, says Mirkin.
Chia seeds may be tiny, but they’re might with filling fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium for healthy bones, and complete plant-based protein. Because they absorb water so well, downing chia is also thought to help boost your satiety.
Despite their translucent appearance, onions are dense in vital nutrients. ‘They are high in the protective antioxidant vitamin C, B vitamins for a healthy metabolism, and potassium for stable blood pressure levels’, Mirkin says.
Carrots are packed with beta carotene (the pigment responsible for their vibrant hue), which is converted into vitamin A- a superstar nutrient that supports immunity and boosts eye health. ‘In your 40s, it’s more important than ever to eat more vitamin A-rich foods, because they also protect your eyes from cataracts’, Mirkin Carrots are also high in potassium to stabilize blood pressure, fiber for better digestion, and vitamin K for bone health.
Broccoli is chock-full of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and vitamins C,B6, and A-all of which Mirk says can help stave off chronic conditions like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s as you age. Plus, you’ll get tones of healthy fiber for better digestion.
There’s a reason chicken has become a weight loss staple: It packs roughly 25 grams of protein in just 4 ounces (or about the size of your palm). It’s also fairly low and fat in calories, making it a leaner choice the most-red meats.
Believe it or not , all bell peppers contain more vitamin C than an orange, an antioxidant that’s thought to boost immunity and promote collagen production. Any color will do, but red is the sweetest if you prefer your crunchy snack to be less bitter.
Beans are loaded with fiber to keep your blood sugar stable, along with folate and iron. Get even more out of this vegetarian protein source by choosing darker varieties (like kidney or black beans), which have higher concentration of antioxidants and phytonutrients.
Quinoa is a complete plant protein – and serves up a whopping 8 grams per 1-cup serving! The fluffy grain also offers tons of gut-healthy fiber to keep you feeling satisfied. Bonus: It cooks up faster than brown rice and barley.
Basil is loaded with polyphenols, which are beneficial in soothing chronic pain associated with arthritis, and even help protect your liver, brain, and heart, according to Mirkin.
Just one teaspoon of ginger per week can improve your artery function, says Mirkin. Studies also show the fragrant root (often when taken in supplement form) may also help prevent diabetes, ease menstrual and muscle pain, and possible even ward off obesity. It you’re prone to tummy trouble, it’s also a great natural remedy for nausea and other digestive issues.
These bright orange tubers fall under the healthy carb category. That’s because sweet potatoes pack tones of gut-filling fiber, magnesium, heart-healthy potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin A. eat them roasted, backed, or boiled in salads, as fries, or in soups.
Juice tomatoes are amazing in salsas, sauces, salads, and sandwiches. And they’re nutritional superstar, too. Red tomatoes, in particular, are rich in lycopene, a carotenoid that may help reduce your risk of chronic diseases. The tangy fruits are also low in calories but high in potassium, zinc and vitamin C.
One study found that mushrooms contain much higher amounts of two important antioxidants than most other foods: ergothineine (EGO) and glutathione (GSH). Ergo, in particular, is known to mitigate oxidative stress, a process that plays a role in aging and diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s. they’re also one of the few food sources of vitamin D.
This powerful green herb is ‘rich in antioxidants that fight free radical damage’, says Mirkin, potentially helping to stave off disease – causing inflammation.
Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, and the like boasts tons of antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, and other nutrients that research shows can boost your brain health, aid weight loss, protect your heart, and keep your skin looking radiant.
This vegan staple packs a powerful combination of nutrients. ‘Just ¼ cup of nutritional yeast offers a whopping 8 grams of protein to keep you satisfied with minimal calories’, says Mirkin. It’s also a great source of B vitamins – something that many vegetarians tend to be deficient in. with a cheesy, nutty flavor, nutritional yeast makes a great dairy-free substitute for cheese in past, pizza, and salads.