Eating well at all stages of life is essential, but as you age, choosing the right foods becomes even more important. As a 60-year-old woman, your dietary needs are unique, and eating the right foods can help reduce the risk of chronic ailments. Osteoporosis, heart health, weight control and inflammation are only some of the many concerns that women face as they age and, coincidentally, are impacted by your diet. Food choices can make a huge impact on your overall health and keep you healthier for longer.
A Healthy Breakfast
Starting the day off right can give you the edge you need to continue healthy eating throughout the day. It's essential that you consume many nutrients daily, two of which, calcium and vitamin D, are important for bone health. Many traditional breakfast foods, such as milk and yogurt, contain calcium, and vitamin D is in fortified milk and egg yolks. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, over 53 million people have osteoporosis, so consuming calcium and vitamin D may help reduce the risk for fractures. At breakfast, consuming fiber-rich foods, such as fruits and whole grains, also help you feel full and satisfied.
Try a traditional breakfast made from one hard-boiled egg, one slice of whole wheat toast, one cup of berries and a cup of reduced fat milk. Or, opt for a slice of whole wheat toast, topped with a tablespoon of low fat cream cheese and a slice of smoked salmon, tomato slices, olives, and enjoy fortified orange juice on the side.
Nutritious Lunches and Dinners
Whether you eat a separate lunch and dinner or you choose to roll them both into one late afternoon meal, the quality of your food is important. Some women lose lean muscle mass as they age, so including proteins such as skinless chicken or turkey breast, fish and beans can help prevent the loss, according to research published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care. Fruits and vegetables provide nutrients that aid in immunity and antioxidants that fight inflammation; in fact, all fruits offer health benefits. Meals rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean proteins also follow the gold standard for a heart healthy diet. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is ranked as the number one killer of women overall. A heart healthy diet is also a healthy diet to follow for prevention of chronic inflammation and diseases such as diabetes.
Eat 3 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breast with 1 cup each of steamed carrots and roasted potatoes with olive oil, one whole wheat roll and drink a cup of reduced fat milk for your dinner. Or try 3 ounces of baked fish, with a half-cup each of brown rice and steamed broccoli on the side. Finish your meal with a cup of strawberries and a cup of water or tea.
Healthy snacks are just as important as eating balanced and nutritious meals. For additional protein and healthy fats, choose walnuts, almonds or sunflower seeds. If you need more fruits and veggies in your daily diet, choose a banana, orange, apple slices, grapes or cucumbers. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new such as jicama or mango, both of which are nutritious and easy to prepare and eat. Dairy is also an excellent choice for snacking, and it provides calcium from yogurt and cheese and additional vitamin D with fortified milk. Continuing to consume fiber throughout the day -- in whole grains, such as oatmeal or popcorn, or in fruits and vegetables -- helps keep your digestive system healthy.
Foods 60-Year-Old Women Should Avoid
Many foods can be damaging to the body and actually promote chronic disease, so should be avoided. Limit high-fat meats, foods high in sodium and sugar, highly processed foods and sugary drinks. Foods that are highly processed and high in sugar can cause inflammation, which, in its chronic state, has been implicated as a factor in many conditions, including diabetes, osteoarthritis and Alzheimer's disease, according to research published in Aging and Disease. As a woman of 60, diet is one of the most important elements for maintaining your health and well-being, warding off chronic disease and staying at a healthy weight.
Seeking Help With Diet
When seeking a change in your diet, it's always helpful to discuss your current medical conditions with your doctor, as many healthy foods interact with medications. As a result, no completely one-size-fits-all diet exists for a 60-year-old woman; it all depends on your current health, nutritional needs and food preferences. Your doctor may refer you to a registered dietitian to evaluate your current diet and recommend changes that you can make. Calorie needs are determined by height, weight, age and activity level; for additional information as to how many calories you should consume, consult a nutrition professional.