There are many women over 50 who try to get a bit more fit and seek diets to support heart or brain function. During these years, women are in a natural transition, so a good diet may help control menopausal symptoms and improve overall health.
The diets in this article were chosen based on the following criteria:
- Easy to follow: In addition to offering clear guidelines and simple shopping lists, the diet requires no supplements.
- Adaptable: You can make changes based on your personal preferences and nutritional needs.
- It is not too restrictive: You will not need to eliminate large food groups from your meal plan.
- Nutritionally balanced: You will eat plenty of healthy fats and proteins, as well as quality carbohydrate and micronutrient sources.
- Based on the evidence: Scientific studies support the health benefits of diet.
The 5 best diets for women over 50
1. Best of all: the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is consistently considered one of the healthiest eating patterns for almost anyone, including women over 50.
The prestigious Washington magazine ranks the Mediterranean diet as the best option to follow a healthy nutrition; giving it a score of 4.2 out of 5. The report shows that the majority of the inhabitants of Mediterranean countries tend to live longer than Americans and suffer fewer diseases like cancer or heart problems.
Based on the eating patterns of people in Greece and southern Italy in the 1960s, this diet is characterized by its low content of saturated fat. It is made up mainly of vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts and whole grains, and features olive oil as the main source of added fat (1Trusted source).
To carry out the Mediterranean diet we must take into account the Food pyramid, which emphasizes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes; fish and seafood a couple of times a week; poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt in moderation. In this sense, the consumption of sweets and red meat for special occasions should be limited and combined with daily physical activity. «The Mediterranean diet is synonymous with quality of life«, Say the experts.
2. Best for heart health: the DASH diet
In second place in the ranking we find the DASH diet, which has a score of 4.1 out of 5. This diet, promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, is usually adopted to stop hypertension and focuses mainly on eating fruits, vegetables, protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy, all foods rich in nutrients to reduce blood pressure.
The DASH diet advises against consume food with a high in saturated fat, such as red meat, fatty products, as well as drinks and sweets. This diet is based on a balanced diet and can be followed in the long term, one of the keys for nutrition experts to classify it as one of the most recommended in the world.
To carry out this diet we must make drastic changes in our diet. For this reason, the journal’s expert committee advises that we start with little changes as:
- Add two or more meatless meals a week.
- Use herbs and spices to make food to avoid salt.
- Add a serving of vegetables or fruits to each meal.
- Eat almonds or walnuts.
- Change the white flour for whole wheat flour.
- Walk 15 minutes after lunch or dinner.
3. The best plant base: the Flexitarian diet
This diet shares second place with the DASH diet, especially for its consumption in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and proteins of plant origin. The Flexitariana could be considered as a vegetarian diet that allows occasionally to consume meat or fish, hence its name comes from the word “flexible”.
The study claims that you don’t have to give up meat entirely for the diet to be effective. Among the best qualities of the Flexitarian diet, it should be noted that it helps us lose weight, have better health, reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, in addition to increasing our life expectancy.
To follow this way of eating we must add five food groups to our diet: non-meat proteins, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy and spices. This report advises against adapting the diet to our rhythm of life to achieve better results, but rather that we go little by little discovering all the possible recipes.
4. Best for brain health: the MIND diet
The Mind’s ‘MIND’ diet was created to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and other age-related dementia. ‘MIND’ is an acronym for “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay”. As the name implies, it combines elements from the Mediterranean and DASH diets that have been shown to support brain health.
Emphasizes foods like whole grains, berries, leafy vegetables, beans, olive oil, and fatty fish. The consumption of fried foods, red meat, butter, cheese and sweets is discouraged.
Multiple studies have found that the MIND diet reduces the risk of dementia. While closely following dieters have the greatest reduced risk, even those who adhere only moderately may still experience a slower rate of mental decline (11Reliable Source, 12Reliable Source, 13Reliable Source).
5. The best for those who are fed up with dieting: eat intuitively
It is very likely that if you have tried all the diets, it is normal that you are tired of always the same story. In this aspect, we must already be ready to abandon the cycle of strict diets forever and start eating healthy intuitive it could be the perfect fit for our body.
Chronic restrictive diets can lead to variety of adverse effects, including bone loss, rebound weight gain, disordered eating, and decreased quality of life. Intuitive Eating is an anti-diet program designed to reshape your diet mindset and build a positive relationship with your body and the foods you eat. It was created by dietitians who claim that chronic diets cause physical and psychological harm.
The intuitive diet includes 10 fundamental principles. These are based on concepts like making peace with food, looking out for health and dealing with emotions without having to use food. There are no forbidden foods, and there are no rules governing portion sizes or meal times. Instead, the goal is to help you get back learn to listen for natural hunger cues and fullness of your body so that you no longer depend on a particular diet for mental or physical nourishment.
A recent study linked intuitive eating with better psychological health and a lower risk of eating disorders.