Nutrition for Women After 40 Print

Healthy eating for perimenopause & menopause

diet for women after 40 perimenopause menopause

 Global News CalagaryFor women after the age of 40 years of age, the physical and emotional changes due to perimenopause can be a big challenge negatively influencing energy, mood, weight and long-term chronic disease risk. The good news is that slight shifts to your diet can positively help you manage perimenopause and menopause symptoms to help you look and feel your best.

Watch my previous TV segment discussing nutrition challenges for women over 40: https://youtu.be/hMK95Fk6DZs

What are the major issues for women after 40 in perimenopause and menopause?

As hormone levels change in menopause it is common for women to experience:

  • Lowered energy levels and fatigue
  • Mood swings (such as depression, anxiety)
  • Lowered bone density and increased risk of osteoporosis
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Sleep disruption
  • Weight gain

What should women eat to help improve their symptoms at menopause?

The top 5 nutrition considerations for women at menopause:

  1. Meals that combine carbohydrates AND protein
  2. A focus on REAL food
  3. Gradually decrease calorie intake
  4. Get enough calcium and vitamin D
  5. Take a vitamin B12 supplement

These 5 nutrition tips for women after 40 and at menopause are described in depth below:

1. Why should meals combine carbohydrates AND protein?

One of the most important aspects of effective energy and mood management is to ensure you balance your meals and snacks with both carbohydrates AND protein. One without the other has a negative impact on your overall energy.

Carbohydrates:

  • Carbohydrates provide your brain with satisfaction. Not only does your brain run on carbohydrate for energy so does your muscles.
  • While portion sizes of carbohydrate-rich foods such as grains, starches and sweets are important (since it is common for many people to overeat these items) you do not want a carb free diet.
  • Following a very low carbohydrate diet that skimps on carbohydrate-rich foods such as grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits can lead to fatigue, depression, anxiety and poor long-term health.

Protein:

  • Protein provides your stomach with fullness. Protein is also important for muscle and tissue repair and more.
  • Meals without protein simply do not keep you full and sustained with energy and can lead to frequent hunger and cravings.
  • Protein is found in foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, legumes, cheese, milk, yogurt, tofu, nuts, seeds and nut butter.
  • Make sure to have a source of protein with all your major meals and snacks to feel your best.

2.  What so-called “real foods” are important for women after 40 and at menopause?

The latest research shows that the most important way to sustain long-term health is to think about your overall diet and an emphasis on whole foods rather than simply just focusing on eating less of a single nutrient (such as fat or sugar).

The best protection against heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis is to emphasize whole food (the stuff the grows in the ground, on trees and generally would be recognized by your grandparents as “real” food).

  • While debates exist about which is the so-called “best diet” for health and weight management, eating more plant-based foods (vegetables and fruits) is always recommended.
  • Research on women’s health also suggests whole grains, legumes, nuts, seafood and olive oil also have health promoting effects for women in menopause.

3. How can women through menopause gradually reduce their calorie intake?

Our metabolism slows with age and in order to maintain the current weight you are at you will need to exercise more or reduce your overall calorie intake. This is indeed tough to do since we become conditioned to eat a certain amount throughout our lifespan but will inevitably need to adjust our calorie intake down as we age.

3 ways to reduce calories are to consider:

  • Are there changes I can make to the TYPE of food that I eat?
  • Are there changes I can make to the AMOUNT of food that I eat?
  • Are there changes I can make about WHY I am eating?

Work with an experienced Registered Dietitian that specializes in customized weight loss nutrition counselling, emotional eating and behavior modification to help you sort out the right balance of what, when, why and how much to eat.

Avoid extreme or restrictive low-calorie diets as these will increase stress on your body and worsen menopause symptoms such as lowering energy, mood, bone density and sleep quality.

Nutrition for Women Over 40 - Perimenopause and Menopause

4.  How much calcium and vitamin D is enough for women at menopause?

Adequate calcium and vitamin D is essential to prevent bone loss. Many women do not get enough calcium and vitamin D. This increases the risk for osteoporosis, colon cancer and high blood pressure.

Calcium

  • Women over 50 require 1200 mg of calcium per day.
  • Without at least three servings of calcium-rich foods each day, you are unlikely to get enough calcium from food alone and will need calcium supplements.
  • Examples of calcium-rich servings are one cup of milk or fortified soy, rice or almond milk, ¾ cup of yogurt, or 1½ ounces of cheese.

Vitamin D

  • Vitamin D is critical to bone health, cancer prevention and more.
  • Some foods such milk and fatty fish contain vitamin D but taking a supplement is recommended.
  • Health Canada recommends that all adults up to age 70 get 600 IU each day from food and supplements. 800 IU per day is advised for those over 70. Some health groups suggest an even higher level of vitamin D may be helpful. Speak to your doctor or dietitian about what is best for you.

5. Why is a vitamin B12 supplement important for women at menopause?

Vitamin B12 is important for brain and nerve health along with making red blood cells.

As we age our ability to absorb vitamin B12 declines.

  • Vitamin B12 is found only in animal-based foods like eggs, dairy, meat, seafood and poultry, and some fortified foods like soy milk and soy-based meat substitutes.
  • Health Canada advises that adults over 50 years consume foods fortified with vitamin B12 or a supplement containing it.
  • Menopausal women need 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 per day for health (often the amount found in an age-appropriate multivitamin).
  • Be sure to have your doctor check the B12 levels in your blood.

What about other dietary supplements for women after 40 and during menopause?

While there are many dietary supplements and herbs promoted for menopause symptoms, not all are beneficial and some may be harmful or interact with medications you are taking. Be wary of the conflict of interest that exists by so-called “nutrition experts” that are not only providing advice but also sell the product they are promoting. Work with a Registered Dietitian that specializes in dietary supplement education and learn the pros and cons for yourself.

Where can I find out more information on nutrition for women after 40 and eating advice for perimenopause and menopause ?

Check out some of these nutrition articles on our website:

How to Navigate Emotional Eating

The 3 Types of Hunger

Dietitian Answers to Your Top Weight Loss Questions

The Reasons You’ve Hit a Weight Loss Plateau

What is the Best Diet to Follow?

Our Calgary Nutritionist / Dietitian support for Women after 40

If you are seeking support for menopause, weight loss, emotional eating and finding an eating style that doesn’t expect you to be perfect and can work for your life, here are some ways we can help support you:

Join the waiting list for our next Online Nutrition Course The Pursuit of Healthiness.

Contact us to learn more about booking private one-on-one nutrition counseling in-person at our Calgary office or by virtual video conferencing with one of the weight loss Nutritionists / Dietitians on our team.

Our menopause and weight loss Nutritionist Calgary / Dietitian services is designed to help you eat well and still have a life.  While we can’t guarantee weight loss (no one can!) we can guarantee we will do everything we can to help you move towards your personal best weight and a sustainable lifestyle. You won’t find any weird fad diets, unnecessary food restrictions and anyone trying to sell you shakes, supplements or so-called miracle cures here. As university trained Registered Nutritionists / Dietitians, you can count on us for credible advice and practical meal planning so you don’t have to stress about food anymore. You can achieve a healthy and joyous relationship with food and your body. Let’s talk about what this can look like for you. CONTACT US.

As Registered Nutritionists / Dietitians that specialize in women’s health, weight concerns and emotional eating we can see you in our local Calgary Nutritionist office or as an Online Dietitian by phone or video conferencing for virtual nutrition counseling. Read more about our nutrition counseling programs and book an appointment by our experienced Registered Nutritionist / Dietitian team here: NUTRITION COUNSELING

 

About Andrea Holwegner

CEO, Registered Dietitian, Counseling Practice Director & Professional Speaker

Andrea the «Chocoholic Nutritionist» is founder and CEO of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. since 2000. She is an online nutrition course creator, professional speaker and regular guest in the media. Andrea is the recipient of an award by the Dietitians of Canada: The Speaking of Food & Healthy Living Award for Excellence in Consumer Education....Read more

Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. Andrea and her team really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Andrea is an excellent teacher and motivator. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This