Healthy eating for your 50s. Photo: Thinkstock
Your nutritional needs
The onset of menopause brings a host of changes: to the shape of your body, to how you feel about yourself, even to your relationships. Some of the symptoms you may experience, such as hot flushes, sleeplessness and memory loss, can range from mildly annoying to debilitating.
Iron becomes less of an issue once your periods stop, so it’s OK to start finding protein sources other than red meat. However, you still need plenty of calcium to protect your bones.
Now is the time to boost your intake of antioxidants in order to help prevent the common chronic diseases of old age, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Plenty of fibre and water are essential for a healthy bowel from this age on.
Ideal foods for you
Soy and linseed bread: Both contain high levels of phyto-oestrogens, which some studies have suggested could help balance hormones and mitigate some of the symptoms of menopause.
Lentils: Along with other plant-based proteins, these help regulate hormones.
Tofu: Has been shown to have a positive effect on bone density.
Fresh vegetables: Are high in natural fibre and will prevent you from depositing fat around your stomach.
Watermelon: Or other water-based fruits like grapes, which keep up the natural water content in your body.
Mistakes to avoid
• Eating too much. You put on a kilogram each year you turn 30, even if you eat the same amount, so portion size is becoming critical now.
• Nibbling on cakes and biscuits at all the meetings and social evenings you’re going to. Make every mouthful count nutritionally.
• Drinking too much coffee or red wine – these can worsen any sleeplessness, anxiety or depression you may be experiencing.
• Eating too much spicy food. Chilli can severely exacerbate hot flushes.
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