Reaching forty years is a time of many changes, it is an age in which you have matured and in which you have greater economic stability. However, it is also a time when age begins to have its greatest impact on health. Your reproductive system starts to slow down, which can cause you to gain weight, and you also start to suffer from some nutritional deficiencies.
The good news is that you can counteract weight gain and keep your body fit by eating the right foods and wisely. A diet with whole foods, rich in nutrients and with a lot of variety is undoubtedly the best option for optimal health and avoiding any lack of micronutrients and macronutrients
If this is very difficult for you, you can resort to supplements, but if you are going to do it, it is important to use high-quality supplements.
Nutritional deficiencies and what foods to consume to replenish nutrients
Here are 10 important nutrients for women in their 40s that help prevent nutritional deficiencies as we age, as well as how to get them through food.
Consume: cheese, yogurt, milk, sardines, green leafy vegetables, salmon with skin
Bones begin to weaken little by little with each passing year after age 35, but you can slow bone loss by getting enough calcium.
Calcium plays an important role in maintaining bone health and muscle contraction when we are older. Ideally, you should receive 1,000 international units (IU) to 2,500 IU daily. To put this in perspective, 85 grams of cooked salmon provide about 450 IU of vitamin D, according to the National Institutes of Health.
2. Vitamin D
Eat: sardines, salmon, tuna, cheese, egg yolks, fortified cereals and milk.
Vitamin D plays a role in calcium absorption, muscle and nerve function, and immune system health. Vitamin D can also keep your reproductive system healthy and functioning. This vitamin is linked to the levels of testosterone and estrogen.
Having optimal testosterone levels in a woman will help her maintain her muscle mass, while the right level of estrogen will maintain her sex drive and control menopause and irregular periods.
Postmenopausal intake of vitamin D has also been linked to a reduction in the risk of breast cancer, according to a European Prospective Research on Cancer and Nutrition meta-analysis.
Our bodies can synthesize vitamin D, so there's an easy way to get it: Spend some time outside! Go for a walk, jog, bike ride, or just get some fresh air.
3. Vitamin K
Consume: green leafy vegetables, soybeans, pomegranate juice.
Osteoporosis affects 10 million American adults, 80 percent of whom are women, which is a terrifying statistic. But getting enough vitamin K along with calcium and vitamin D has been linked to stronger bones throughout life, according to the US National Institutes of Health. Women should consume 90 micrograms of vitamin K daily to avoid nutritional deficiencies.
Consume: liver, spinach, black-eyed peas, asparagus, Brussels sprouts.
You've probably heard of folate's role in prenatal health, but it's also important for women who have already had children. Folate from natural food sources, not supplements, helps protect brain function as we age.
Taking a folic acid supplement is not a great idea, as ingesting too much folate can increase your risk of developing certain cancers, particularly colon cancer. That is why food is more convenient in this case, especially for those who are over 40 years old.
Eating a half cup of cooked spinach offers 130 micrograms; more than a third of the recommended minimum of 400 per day.
Consume: acorn squash, potatoes, lentils, spinach.
Eating too much sodium is bad for your heart and bones. The recommended intake is 2,300 milligrams per day, but for those over the age of 40, this increases to 3,800 milligrams, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. That's where potassium comes in.
Potassium plays an important role in regulating blood pressure, as it reduces the effects of sodium which increase blood pressure. Potassium supplements are generally not recommended, as ingesting excessive amounts can cause arrhythmia and damage the gastrointestinal tract.
6. Vitamin B6
Consume: beans, tuna, chicken, potatoes, bananas
Vitamin B6 is particularly important if you have been taking birth control. If you have been, or continue to take, oral contraceptives, then your vitamin B6 levels may have decreased. This vitamin is responsible for the metabolism of macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Eat 1.3 milligrams of B6 each day to avoid nutritional deficiencies. One cup of chickpeas contains 1.1 milligrams.
Consume: beef, seafood, Greek yogurt, eggs, nuts.
By now you will know that calcium and vitamin D are essential when it comes to supporting bone health. But not getting enough protein can also cause harm. Lack of protein in the diet was linked to an increased risk of neck fractures in a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging.
Although the plethora of protein bars and powders lining supermarket shelves might make you think otherwise, meeting your daily protein needs through your normal diet is not too difficult. An average person weighing 63 kilos needs about 50 grams per day, which is equivalent to one cup of Greek yogurt, one egg, and half a cup of cottage cheese.
Consume: fortified cereals, lentils, beef, oysters, spinach
According to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world, and that's a big problem, as iron helps oxygen move throughout the body through the haemoglobin in the blood.
While doing all your efforts at work and at home, you don't want to feel fatigued on the road. It is very important to balance iron levels to compensate for blood loss from the regular menstrual cycle and avoid anemia.
Women in their 20s and 50s should aim for 18 milligrams per day. A cup of navy beans is more than enough to cover more than half of the daily dose, since it has 8 grams.
9. Vitamin E
Consume: sunflower seeds, almonds, vegetable oils, peanut butter, spinach, broccoli
Getting enough vitamin E can reduce the risk of heart attacks and colon cancer in women younger than 65. Vitamin E is also an antioxidant that can help slow aging and keep skin healthier for longer.
You need 15 milligrams per day, according to the National Institutes of Health, which is equivalent to 28 grams of almonds, three tablespoons of peanut butter and one cup of spinach. No negative effects have been linked to consuming more vitamin E than we need, but too much supplementation could contribute to colon cancer risk.
Eat: almonds, spinach, cashews, peanuts, black beans, peanut butter
The proper absorption and utilization of vitamins C and E and iodine depend on the presence of magnesium. This helpful mineral is also linked to pain management, muscle function, hormones, inflammation, and sleep. With all that in mind, you may realize why reaching the daily dose of 320 milligrams per day is crucial.
Over time, problems in your arteries could cut back on blood flow. And since all of the tissues and organs in your body need blood to work well, that means things like your brain, your kidneys, your eyesight, and your sex life can be affected, too.