There are so many different diets out there that it can be overwhelming, especially for women trying to age gracefully where they are. Not all of them are healthy, either.
Many women over the age of 50 seek out diets that promise to improve their cardiovascular health, cognitive performance, menopausal symptoms, and general well-being.
The diet plans shown in this piece were selected using the following criteria:
Simple to understand. The diet doesn’t call for any extra supplements beyond following the easy-to-follow recommendations and shopping lists provided.
Adaptable. Modifications may be made to suit the tastes and dietary requirements of the individual.
No shackles attached. No major dietary changes or eliminations will be required.
Good for your health nutritionally. You can expect to eat a diet that is full of healthy fats, proteins, and carbs, as well as micronutrients.
Evidence-based. The diet has been shown to have positive health effects by several scientific research.
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1. For optimal health in every way, nothing beats the Mediterranean diet
Women over the age of 50, like everyone else, may benefit from adopting a more Mediterranean-style diet.
This diet is low in saturated fat and is based on the eating habits of people in Greece and Southern Italy in the 1960s. Vegetables, beans, fruit, nuts, and whole grains make up the bulk of this diet, with olive oil serving as the major source of supplemental fat (1 Source).
Fish and dairy products are the main sources of protein in the Mediterranean diet, but there are also small amounts of eggs, chicken, and red meat.
Decades of research show that following this diet reduces your risk of developing a variety of age-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and cognitive decline.
Another study discovered that women in their premenopausal and postmenopausal years who followed a Mediterranean diet had a 30% lower risk of becoming overweight (3 Trusted Source).
The adaptability of the Mediterranean diet makes it stand out from the crowd of other trendy eating plans. There are no foods or food groups that you can’t eat. Even desserts and red wine in moderation are fine.
Read “The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook” by registered dietitians Serena Ball and Deanna Segrave-Daly if you’re interested in giving it a go.
2. The Dash diet is the most effective for lowering cholesterol levels
One of the main killers of women over the age of 50 is heart disease, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (4Trusted Source).
Also, the number of women with high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease, goes up during menopause (5).
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet can treat and prevent high blood pressure, also known as hypertension (6 Trusted Source).
It emphasizes foods high in calcium, potassium, and magnesium, all of which are linked to lower blood pressure, and has a low salt content.
Individuals have different sodium intake limits. Some individuals use no more than 2,300 milligrams of salt daily, while others consume as little as 1,500. Both of these amounts are consistent with what the American Heart Association recommends for salt intake (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).
Vegetables, fruit, and low-fat dairy products make up the bulk of the DASH diet, with whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish, and chicken making up the remainder. Processed or cured meats are not allowed, but red meat and sweets are often discouraged but sometimes allowed.
Cholesterol and blood sugar levels may be lowered and maintained with a diet that focuses on nutrient-dense, whole foods rather than processed convenience meals (6Trusted Source).
3. The Flexitarian diet is the best plant-based option
The flexitarian diet is mostly plant-based but allows for the consumption of meat, eggs, dairy, and fish on occasion (8 Trusted Source).
This diet is especially popular among women for health, animal welfare, and environmental reasons (8 Trusted Source).
For those who wish to increase their consumption of fiber and plant protein but still respect the nutritional benefits of animal products and want to consume them on occasion, the Flexitarian diet is a terrific alternative.
The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health found that vegetarian and vegan women may not get enough of some important nutrients.
The Flexitarian diet, which includes items like red meat and fish, is more nutrient-dense than more restrictive eating plans. It’s also high in calcium, which is important for postmenopausal women’s bone health (8 Trusted Source).
Preliminary studies show that this diet may also help with weight loss, heart health, and avoiding diabetes (8Trusted Source).
Check out “Mostly Plants” by Tracy, Dana, Lori, and Corky Pollan, a Flexitarian cookbook, and give it a try for yourself.
4. The MIND (Mindful Eating and Moving) Diet ranks fourth when it comes to protecting brain health.
Dementia is more common among women than males, and both old age and being a woman are major risk factors. The majority of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are women (10 Trusted Source).
The MIND diet was created as a means of preventing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive loss that come with age.
Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay is the full name of this study’s abbreviation. The name of this diet plan lets you know that it is a mix of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. Both of these diets have been shown to improve brain function.
There is an emphasis on meals like beans, olive oil, fatty salmon, and whole grains. Refrain from eating fried dishes, red meat, butter, cheese, and desserts.
The MIND diet has been shown to lower the risk of dementia in many trials. Though individuals who strictly adhere to the diet show the greatest protection, even a modest level of adherence may be enough to slow the rate of cognitive deterioration (11 Trusted Source, 12 Trusted Source, 13 Trusted Source).
5. Intuitive eating is the best option for ladies who are tired of dieting.
The intuitive eating approach may be just what the dieting doctor ordered for those who have exhausted every diet trend there is to try.
Bone loss, rebound weight gain, eating disorders, and a worse quality of life are just some of the potential side effects of long-term calorie restriction (14, 15Trusted Source, 16).
The goal of the anti-diet method of Intuitive Eating is to help you change your perspective on food and your body for the better. It was made by nutritionists who believe that dieting too often is bad for your health.
Some of the ten pillars of intuitive eating are making peace with food, valuing your health, and dealing with your feelings without turning to food.
No foods are restricted, and no regulations govern portion quantities or meal schedule. Instead, you will learn to rely less on food in general and more on your body’s signals of hunger and fullness in an effort to break your dietary dependence.
Recent research has shown that intuitive eating is linked to better mental health and a lower risk of eating disorders (17 Trusted Sources).
Additional studies have shown that people who adhere to this regimen have a better chance of maintaining a healthy weight, while it should be noted that weight reduction is not the aim (18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).
Get your hands on the official handbook for this method, “Intuitive Eating,” written by registered dietitians Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN.
Tips for selecting the optimal diet for women over the age of 50
A good diet for a woman over 50 is one she can stick to indefinitely; this may differ from the ideal diet for your closest friend, sister, or neighbor.
Foods that make you feel good and supply all the nutrients your body requires should make up the bulk of your diet.
Think about what works best for you and your body while deciding between these diets.
Those who want to lower their blood pressure should follow the DASH eating plan. Learn to eat intuitively to take better care of yourself and get a more balanced view of food. If you’re merely searching for a better, more balanced diet, the Mediterranean or Flexitarian diets may be preferable.
These diets have a lot of similarities, as you may have noticed. Each stresses nutrient-dense, minimally processed foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, healthy fats, lean protein, and antioxidants – all of which are crucial criteria for whatever diet you’re considering.
The nutritional needs of women over the age of 50 are unique, and they need extra care in the areas of calcium, vitamin D, protein, and B vitamin consumption. If you believe you aren’t getting enough of these nutrients, you may need to change your diet or take a supplement (20 Trusted Source).
No need to go on a starvation diet. Even if you don’t follow your preferred eating pattern exactly, taking small, slow steps can still help your health in a big way.
Talk to your doctor before making any significant dietary or supplementation changes to be sure they’ll benefit you.
It might be confusing to figure out what diet is best for you if you’re a woman over the age of 50, particularly if you’re also dealing with the physical changes that come with getting older.
The Mediterranean, Flexitarian, DASH, and MIND diets, as well as intuitive eating, is good for your heart, brain, and overall health.
When deciding which one is best for you, you need to think about your specific health goals and dietary needs. The best diet is the one that you can stick to indefinitely and which promotes optimal health.
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