Over the age of 50, the daily energy turnover falls by around a quarter. This is because the muscle mass shrinks by about 1% per year. A 50-year-old woman thus needs around 400 calories less each day than a 25-year-old. Anyone who does not adjust their dietary habits to the lower metabolic rate or arrange to use up more energy by engaging in sport during this period, risks weight gain.
Although the body requires less energy with increasing age, the requirement for nutrients increases at the same time, since these can often not be absorbed as well by the body. Foods with a low energy content but a high nutritional value are therefore particularly suitable. This includes foods such as vegetables, salads, legumes, fruit, potatoes, whole-grain products, low-fat dairy products and lean meat. The optimum would be for every meal to contain protein (milk products, legumes, meat, poultry, fish), little fat (plant oil) and a carbohydrate source with a low glycaemic index (wholemeal bread, brown rice, wholemeal pasta).
The recommendations at a glance:
- Diverse and wholesome:
A healthy lifestyle should encompass a diverse, healthy and wholesome diet. Regular meals maintain performance. Do not eat too much, since variety and combinations are more important than quantity.
Eat wholemeal products and/or potatoes several times a day, since wholemeal delivers valuable vitamins and fibre, which stimulates digestion.
- Fruit and vegetables:
Five portions of fruit and vegetables, raw or steamed, are recommended per day. You could, for example, make vegetables the main component of one meal since this will give you important nutrients and allows you to eat to satiety without taking in many calories.
- Milk and dairy products:
During the menopause, the protective effects of oestrogen, which hitherto promoted synthesis in the body, are lost. Calcium is an important building material for bones. The body is particularly good at absorbing calcium in small portions, so calcium-rich snacks such as a yoghurt or some nuts are ideal.
- Eat fish once a week
Fatty fish such as herring or salmon provide important omega-3-fatty acids.
- Sausage, bacon and sweets
Enjoy sausage products, bacon and rich sweets only in small quantities.
- Fatty foods:
It is healthier to substitute sausage, meat, bacon, cheese or butter with leaner variants and vegetable fats. Use high quality olive, rape or sunflower oils – it will help your cholesterol levels.
Water is essential, make sure you drink 1.5 to 2 litres of as low-calorie fluid as possible (water, herb or fruit teas without sugar) spread over the day.
- Coffee and alcohol:
Caffeine and alcohol (and nicotine too) can reduce the levels of oestrogen and thus irritate the temperature regulation system. Anyone suffering from hot flashes should reduce their alcohol and coffee consumption to one glass or cup per day and if possible do not smoke at all. Hot spicy foods can also provoke hot flashes. Therefore, hot spices are not recommended during the menopausal years.
- Take your time eating
Consciously take enough time when eating. Make sure you have a light evening meal and eat it at least two to three hours before going to bed.