It’s time to celebrate another birthday! It’s one of the big ones, with a “0″ on the end. As a mom with two small children, my health is a top priority. I’m taking note of what my body needs in this new decade of my life. While a balanced diet is important throughout our lifetime, as our life evolves, so do our nutritional needs.
- Twenties: Life can be a whirlwind. Include:
- Bone Building Calcium: Women are still building bone in their 20s and 30s. Calcium is the key building block. To prevent osteoporosis, enjoy 3 servings of low-fat and fat-free dairy foods every day.
- High-Folate Foods: Folate is vital for women of child bearing age. It helps prevent birth defects, even before pregnancy. Good sources include whole grains, beans, and dark green leafy vegetables.
- Thirties: Children, work, and fun! We try to fit it all in during this decade. Include:
- Iron Rich Foods: Pre-menopausal women have double the iron needs. Consume red meat, eggs, dark leafy greens, and/or iron fortified cereals daily.
- Healthy Fats: Enjoy the heart healthy fats in foods like olive and canola oil, fish, seafood, nuts and avocados. These fats lower blood pressure and cholesterol and can boost your mood by enhancing brain function.
- Forties: A well-balanced diet is key to keeping mid-life weight gain and chronic disease risk in check. Include:
- High Fiber Foods: Whole grains, fruits and vegetables may reduce cholesterol, prevent diabetes and some cancers. These foods also control hunger.
- Vitamin D: Helps your body absorb calcium to keep bones healthy. Milk is the primary source of vitamin D in the diet.
- Fifties and beyond: Include:
- Antioxidants: Antioxidants (plentiful in brightly colored fruits and vegetables and dried beans) are nature’s anti-aging medicine and aid in prevention of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.
Laura Buxenbaum, MPH, RD, LDN