Everyday foods every woman over 50 should be eating (part 1)
We know you are always being told don’t eat this and don’t eat that. We would LOVE to talk about what you DO want to eat! It is more fun to think about foods to eat that are going to be of benefit to you, your mood, your weight and overall health.
One of the things to think about, especially as we age, is that oxidative stress can cause accelerated aging by damaging cells, proteins, and DNA. In fact, oxidative stress is one of the main causes of many major diseases.
Because of this, we need to make sure we are getting plenty of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are specialized chemicals that are responsible for preventing oxidation from occurring in your body.
This is part 1 of our list, because we like to give you info in bite size chunks (wink). These are foods you want to include on a regular basis and we’ll show you how to do that as well. One thing we also took into account when putting together this list was to include foods that are fairly accessible. For the full scoop, view the video below!
✔Blueberries / Raspberries
Chances are you have heard that blueberries are good for you, but don’t forget about their sidekick raspberries!
Do you know why these berries are so amazing for us? Berries are not only a naturally sweet treat, but they are also loaded with nutrients, including many vitamins, such as vitamin C and various minerals.
1 cup of blueberries has 4 grams of fiber, and 1 cup of raspberries has 8 grams of fiber.
They also have several Polyphenols, such as flavonoids and anthocyanins, and other potent antioxidants that may help slow down the aging process.
Extensive research confirms that the most powerful antioxidants in berries are a class of polyphenols known as anthocyanins. Berry anthocyanins strongly combat oxidative stress.
High vitamin C content in berries help keep collagen building underneath the skin so the skin stays firm, toned, elastic-like, and younger-looking.
Berries are also well-known for their potential to protect against age-related decline of memory and their ability to enhance cognitive performance. One reason berries are so beneficial for brain health is because the flavonoids they contain are able to cross the blood-brain barrier.
Raspberries contain ellagitannins, which are converted in the body to ellagic acid. Ellagic acid is a powerful chemical that has anticarcinogenic actions. Both blueberries and raspberries have been shown to stimulate apoptosis (death) of human cancer cells including oral cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer and others.
It’s so easy to incorporate berries into your daily food. We love to get bags of frozen berries, organic if possible, which I find at Costco or Trader Joes. Fresh or frozen, They are great in smoothies, in yogurt, oats, or even I love them frozen right out of the bag.
Nuts have a healthy profile, but walnuts stands out as being a nutritional powerhouse to us.
They can help protect against brain-damaging inflammation as well as the inflammation linked to heart disease.
Walnuts also provide an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids that help protect the fatty portion of your cells and brain and help end brain inflammation.
Research in the Journal of Nutrition found that walnuts also contain natural compounds that act as antioxidants to destroy free radicals.
These same compounds reduce brain inflammation, improve signals between brain cells, and increase the generation of brain and nerve cells.
The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that eating only 1 to 1.5 ounces, which is about ¼-⅓ cup of walnuts daily, improves memory and learning.
Toss them in your smoothie, eat them as a snack, add them to yogurt, a salad or chia pudding.
However, you probably want to avoid the snack packets of walnuts found in many grocery stores, often in the baking aisle. Many of them have been processed at high temperatures or have been sitting around for long periods of time, which can cause the oils in the walnuts to go rancid.
Look for raw walnuts at a store that has a quick turnover of its food. When you get them home, keep them in the fridge or even the freezer to stay as fresh as possible. If you notice them having a bitter taste, chances are they may have gone rancid.
Most people assume that celery, which is made of about 95% water, is a good crunchy filler for weight loss diets and a simple low-cal vehicle for their favorite nut butter.
Surprise – It is so much more than that!
First and foremost, celery contains 20 anti-inflammatory compounds – some of which repel cancer cells, such as apigenin and luteolin. Apinogen has also been shown to help reduce brain inflammation that can occur as you age. Some researchers say it is one of the most overlooked brain protective foods.
Juicing celery has significant anti-inflammatory properties, so it’s wonderful for heart health and autoimmune conditions (and is part of many cancer protocols).
Three medium stalks of celery have about the same amount of potassium (325mg) as a small banana.
Celery is also great electrolyte replacement post exercise. That’s because in addition to its high water and potassium content, it also contains small amounts of natural sodium (about 96mg in 3 stalks).
Some ways to include in the diet:
- Juice celery alone, or with carrots, beets, and apple to make a delicious alkalizing powerhouse elixir (though feel free to use celery in any juice recipe).
- Add chopped celery to tuna or chicken salad (or any green salad)
- Spread with hummus or guacamole, or dip into your favorite salad dressing
- Blend into a smoothie (I do this almost daily)
- Saute with onions and garlic and add to brown rice or quinoa
- Roast it! We so often think of eating celery raw but it’s absolutely delicious roasted with a little olive oil (alone or with other veggies)
- Stir fry with ginger, garlic, water chestnuts using a touch of sesame oil and tamari.
Flax seeds are rich in plant based omega-3 fatty acids, which as you may know are anti-inflammatory and great for protecting the brain.
They are a good source of fiber – 2 TBS has close to 6 grams of dietary fiber, which helps keep your digestion regular and flushes toxins out of the body.
Because flax is great at soaking up water, it can help to speed up intestinal movement, resulting in fuller more complete bowel movements. It’s one of our favorite go-to foods to help relieve constipation.
Flax is also great at forming a gel in the gut that binds to cholesterol and removes it from circulation.
FYI: Not all cholesterol is bad—flax helps boost the kind you need, and flushes out the kind you don’t! Soluble fiber also helps to maintain blood sugar levels and ward off hunger, therefore aiding in weight loss.
One of the cool components of flax seeds is that they contain by FAR the highest amount of a plant compound called LIGNANS.
Lignans, also known as polyphenols, are a class of antioxidants that may help protect against cancer.
NOTE: Be sure to eat only ground flax, vs. whole seeds. The outer hull is so tough that it will pass through you undigested. ALSO, due to the fragility of ground flax, the ideal thing is to buy them whole and grind yourself a bit at a time, storing it in the fridge or freezer. Otherwise, buy ground and immediately store in the freezer, especially once opened. Also, look for BROWN flax vs golden, which has more benefits.
Ideally 2 TBS of ground flax provides the most benefits. We like adding them to smoothies, applesauce, yogurt, chia puddings, or baked goods.
Chia seeds are among the healthiest, most nutrient-dense foods on the planet! They were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayans centuries ago.
Despite their tiny size, like flax they are rich in antioxidants, a good source of protein, and omega 3 fats.
An interesting but not well known fact about chia is that they are a very good source of plant-based calcium and magnesium (yay bones!). Just 2 TBS of chia have about 200mg of calcium!
Due to their ability to absorb up to 10x their weight in water, they are super filling and great for weight loss. In addition, they are packed with soluble fiber which is key for blood sugar control and cholesterol management.
Chia comes whole or ground. Whole is best for chia pudding, our favorite way to eat it. It can also be used in baked goods. We do suggest soaking it first to improve absorption.
We have a chia pudding recipe on our site and a few others in our PM Meal Mastery program.
If you are looking for a great plan of what to eat after 50 in more detail with examples and recipes, check out our PM Meal Mastery program! This is where we help take the guesswork out of what to eat to support your body, brain, bones and of course, metabolism during these years of change without spending hours in the kitchen or feeling deprived, and hungry.
Check for part two to this post, where we introduce our other top 5 nutritional powerhouse foods to include in your diet!
THE NOURISHING GURUS
Jane and Stephanie, creators of The Simply Nourished Solution™, are nutritionists who help women over 50 go from overweight, frustrated, and inflamed to lighter and healthier so they can be more active, feel good in their bodies, and live the second half of life with energy and confidence. Their 3-pronged approach, which can fit into any lifestyle, encompasses not only wholesome energizing foods but powerful habit and mindset shifts.
What’s blocking your weight loss success?
You can still lose weight after 50 - even if you’ve been trying your whole life! Find out what’s standing between you and the healthy weight, energy and freedom you’re looking for.
Supported weight loss for women over 50
If you’re struggling to nourish yourself after menopause, our Simply Nourished Solution™ Signature Weight Loss Program offers the tools, strategies and shifts you need to stop yo-yo dieting, permanently lose weight, and feel better than ever in your 50’s, 60’s and beyond.