If you've reached or passed your 40th birthday, you may find yourself troubled more by the numbers on your bathroom scale than the number of candles on your cake. A woman's metabolism slows and dietary needs change with age. Fortunately, you can add supplements to your diet that will boost your overall health while also helping you shed unwanted pounds.
Your chances of suffering from a low-functioning thyroid, or hypothyroidism, increases as you get older. If you're gaining weight for no apparent reason or struggling to lose weight despite eating less and exercising more, a thyroid condition could be to blame. Other signs of hypothyroidism include forgetfulness, fatigue, sensitivity to cold, high cholesterol levels and dry skin and hair. If you suspect you have hypothyroidism, ask your doctor to run appropriate tests and prescribe synthetic thyroid if needed. Be cautious about using over-the-counter thyroid supplements that may include ingredients such as kelp and other seaweeds. Although the iodine in seaweed may correct a very specific form of hypothyroidism, taking iodine you don't need could lead to hyperthyroidism, an overactive thyroid.
As you age, your need for calcium increases. You need adequate calcium to protect your bones and maintain healthy weight. Several studies link adequate calcium intake to more successful weight loss. One study, conducted by G.C. Major and colleagues at Laval University in Montreal, found that women older than 40 who added calcium to their diets shed more pounds than women who ate similar low-calorie diets without adding calcium. The study, published in the March 2009 issue of the "British Journal of Nutrition," suggests that if you normally consume very little calcium, 600 mg or less per day, you may boost your weight loss results by including 1,200 to 1,500 mg of calcium to your diet.
Green Tea Supplements
Your metabolism slows as you get older. Some weight loss supplements that promise to rev your metabolism contain risky ingredients such as bitter orange, an ephedra-like stimulant blamed for heart attack and strokes in healthy people. Consider adding green tea to your diet instead. At least 15 clinical studies positively linked green tea in supplement or tea form to weight loss, according to a review by Craig Coleman, associate professor of pharmacy practice at the University of Connecticut. Other health benefits of green tea include reducing your risk of heart attack and stroke.
You can also look for supplements in your pantry and for metabolism-boosting foods in your refrigerator. Heat-producing herbs such as ginger, cinnamon and cayenne pepper can help you lose weight because they stimulate blood flow. And including lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet also helps because such foods contain few calories and a lot of fiber so that your body burns extra calories to digest them. Foods high in vitamin C, like strawberries, broccoli, mango and oranges, for instance, may give your weight loss efforts an extra edge.
- "British Journal of Nutrition"; Calcium Plus Vitamin D Supplementation and Fat Mass Loss in Female Very Low-Calcium Consumers: Potential Link With a Calcium-Specific Appetite Control; G.C. Major et al; March 2009
- The Miami Herald; Suspect a Thyroid Problem? It Could Affect Your Cholesterol Levels; (NO BYLINE) Jan. 23 2003
- Zhion.com: Kelp
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Bitter Orange
- Los Angeles Times; Slim Chance Green Tea Can Burn Fat Off; Chris Woolston; Aug. 16 2010
- The Globe and Mail; Green Tea a Possible Factor in Why Japanese Live So Long; Michelle Fay Cortez; Sept. 13 2006