Every decade for a woman comes with new responsibilities, changing hormones and shifting nutritional needs. Trying to follow the best nutritional advice can be a daunting task, but easier if we can understand our nutritional needs for every decade. Knowing the best foods to include in your daily diet can leave you feeling your very best, regardless of your age.
The Roaring 20s
A busy decade for young women, most women at this age are busy founding their careers, starting families or exploring relationships. Women in their 20s need to focus their diets on getting enough of these key nutrients; calcium, iron and b vitamins. If you are in your 20s, look for foods high in calcium, including at least two servings of any of the following foods; dairy, almonds, and leafy green vegetables. To keep energy levels optimized, consider also adding a few servings of grass fed beef weekly. It is important to keep blood sugar levels stable through the day, so eating at regular intervals through the day is key.
The Hectic 30s
As women enter their 30s, their priorities shift. Fertility, healthy pregnancies and energy are still major goals for the majority of women. Missing nutrients that I find frequently on my patients include folic acid (b9), and healthy fats that are needed to support hormones. Keep your hormones balanced and your energy soaring by adding in foods high in folic acid. Navy beans, quinoa and leafy greens are good sources of folic acid. Good fat foods include salmon, walnuts, chia seeds and olive oil. These foods should find their way on your plate everyday!
The Fearsome 40s
The forties can be an exciting but challenging health decade for women. Further into perimenopause, women may find unexpected weight gain, irregular periods and changing skin and hair texture. Increasing protein intake can help balance blood sugar levels and prevent excessive weight gain. Another important mineral to include is magnesium. Magnesium can be found in dark chocolate, leafy greens and nuts. Magnesium deficiency heightens for women in their 40s, worsening sleep disturbances, symptoms of anxiety and constipation.
The Fabulous 50s
The 50s for women are about maintaining bone health, watching for inflammation and keeping cognition sharp. Foods high in vitamin D, including salmon, trout and fortified dairy can protect bones and prevent worsening of osteoporosis and osteopenia. Stick to an anti-inflammatory diet, one low in gluten, dairy, and sugar to lower your risk of inflammation. Up your intake of high antioxidant foods, including carrots, pomegranates and blueberries. These antioxidants can protect against cancer, Alzheimer's and other diseases.
Follow these "diet by decade" rules to find your best health at any age.