As women age, the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis increases, especially after menopause. Find out what foods to include in your diet.
The fatality rate for heart disease and stroke are 1 in 3 for women. But not many are aware of these 'silent killers' when it comes to women’s health.
As a woman ages, her risk of heart disease increases, especially after menopause. After menopause, LDL-Cholesterol, the so-called 'bad' cholesterol levels rise and estrogen levels drop.
A decline in estrogen plus an unhealthy lifestyle lead to an increase in heart disease.
According to the National Health Survey, about 25 per cent of women aged 50-59 have high cholesterol levels which are seven per cent higher than males.
Women can reduce cholesterol levels by:
DASH, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, was developed by researchers in the United States to reduce blood pressure – and therefore, LDL cholesterol. It was ranked the best overall diet by the US News & World report from 2011 to 2014.
The diet includes fish, plant protein, lean and skinless meat & poultry, fruits & vegetables and low-fat dairy foods. It also encourages a reduction in the intake of fat and sodium. It is a safe and effective diet for weight loss, reduces the risk of diabetes and improves heart health.
In the last 30 years, osteoporotic hip fractures have gone up five-fold in women aged 50 and above.
Imagine breaking a bone from bumping into your sofa or just sneezing. That's what happens if you develop osteoporosis – a medical condition where bones are brittle and fragile due to the loss of bone mass and density.
Women are more susceptible to osteoporosis than men. Research shows that 1 in 3 women over 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
After menopause, the fall in the production of estrogen leads to bone loss and increases the risk of fracture. Women lose up to 20 percent of their bone mass in the five to seven years after menopause. The various risk-factors affecting women include a diet low in calcium and Vitamin D, a sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking.
Eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamins can improve the health of your bones. Good sources of calcium and vitamins are:
Exercises such as weight-bearing and resistance training help strengthen bones! Jogging, taking the stairs, dancing, using resistance bands or your own bodyweight to build strength, and carrying groceries improve overall bone health.
Women gain an average of five kilograms around menopause.
The average age of women hitting menopause is 51. Besides the hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbance and mood changes, they have weight-gain to look forward to – especially around their abdomen.
It is more difficult for women in their 40s and 50s to lose weight. The fall in oestrogen level during menopause leads to the loss of muscle mass. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, lesser muscle means fewer calories burned – which leads to weight gain. Fat also tends to accumulate around the abdomen leading to increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Maintaining a healthy weight is possible with healthy eating! Small changes to your diet can control menopausal weight gain. Cutting only 200 calories daily can help you maintain your weight in your 50s.
What do 200 calories look like?
Follow these simple diet tips to avoid a "midlife metabolic crisis":
You may also want to try these "incidental exercises" as part of your daily routine:
Ageing may be inevitable, but healthy ageing – that's a choice!
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This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
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