Grow Younger, Live Longer
As women transition through various life stages, maintaining mental health and cognitive function becomes increasingly critical, particularly during midlife. Nutrition tips become especially valuable during this transformative period as they can significantly impact your well-being.
Hormonal changes, such as fluctuations in estrogen levels, can have a considerable effect on mood, cognitive abilities, and overall well-being. This article aims to provide science-backed nutrition tips, natural remedies, and lifestyle changes that can help improve mental health and cognitive function during this crucial time.
Hormonal Changes and Their Impact
Hormonal fluctuations during the transition to menopause can profoundly impact women’s health. Declining estrogen levels can lead to various symptoms, including hot flashes, brain fog, mood swings, changes in appetite, and sleep disturbances. These changes are uncomfortable and can affect your nutrition and lifestyle and increase the risk of conditions like osteoporosis and heart disease.
Proper nutrition can play a pivotal role in mitigating these symptoms and supporting overall well-being during this transitional phase. In fact, nutrition should become one of the top priorities when you are aging towards midlife.
When you’re transitioning to perimenopause, your hormones greatly decrease. Therefore, you must provide your body with sufficient building blocks (the macros and micronutrients) to make this ride easy for you.
Nutrition is the bullet, but lifestyle pulls the trigger. Before optimizing your nutrition, you need to work on your light environment as hormones work on a rhythm.
For example, if your sleep is greatly suffering, then before taking something (like a pill) you must expose your eyes to morning sunlight so your body makes enough melatonin (sleep hormone), store it, and release it when you go to bed.
Weight management becomes notably more challenging for women in their late 30s and 40s due to changes in hormones and perimenopause and hormonal shifts can influence fat distribution, often leading to increased abdominal fat.
Unlike popular belief, metabolism does not slow down with age. It, however, slows down under the influence of hormonal shifts following perimenopause, mood changes, environmental changes, and lifestyle changes.
Not many people know, but the strategies you used to lose or maintain weight would not work like before. Hours of cardio would not work because as we age, our body’s mobility is affected greatly due to lower estrogen levels, which highlights the importance of body weight training. Estrogen levels affect your bones. Therefore, the main priority should be mobility, strength training, and building muscles to prevent sarcopenia as you age.
Your nutrition requirements would vary from person to person, but focusing on your macronutrients, avoiding restrictive diets, and getting essential minerals is your top priority for your 40s and so on.
These easy nutrition tips will help you to optimize your hormonal health further. Simple tweaks like incorporating more leafy greens and lean protein can have a lasting impact.
Mental Health and Cognitive Function
Hormonal changes, particularly fluctuations in estrogen levels, can impact mood, thoughts and cognitive function.
Women in their late 30s and 40s may experience mood swings, increased anxiety, and changes in memory and concentration. These shifts can affect daily life and overall well-being.
Nutrition can support mental health and cognitive function as well. Using food as medicine would help greatly and support your hormones. Before taking a seductive drug to help you with anxiety, you should try lemon balm, chamomile tea, or lavender massage.
Anxiety in midlife is due to increasing levels of cortisol (stress hormones) and to have control over cortisol, you should try and manage your blood sugar levels first.
Blood Sugar: The Overlooked Pillar of Well-Being in Midlife
Blood sugar management is the cornerstone of hormonal and cognitive health in midlife. Managing your blood sugar levels without the use of any drug would set you free from the worries of what pill to take lower your anxiety, mood swings, and cravings as well.
To manage your blood sugar, you must make protein the star of your plate. With protein, healthy fats are equally important for blood sugar regulation.
Managing blood sugar is key to hormonal and cognitive health in midlife, with protein and healthy fats as your go-to nutritional allies.
Unlike popular belief, you don’t have to cut out carbohydrates from your diet in order to manage your blood sugar. A simple understanding of the types of carbohydrates helps greatly.
Check out our guide for more tips and simple tricks to keep your blood sugar in check.
Vital Vitamins and Minerals: Your Midlife Allies
In midlife, vitamins and minerals help you thrive! They not only help with your weight, mood swings, cravings, brain fog, and energy, but they also help you balance and support your hormones.
The most important vitamins and minerals for midlife are:
- Vitamin D (sunlight)
- Calcium (dairy products, bone broth, leafy green vegetables)
- Magnesium (mineral drink, organ meat)
- Zinc (seafood, oysters, beef)
- Vitamin C (orange juice, pomegranate juice, kiwi, berries)
- B complex (red meat, sprouted produce, organ meat)
- Taurine (beef, scallops)
- Vitamin A (yolks, cheese, organ meat, red & white meat)
Improving your mental health and cognitive function in midlife doesn’t have to be complicated. By understanding the importance of hormonal balance, the role of nutrition, and the significance of micronutrients, you can take actionable steps to ensure your well-being. Incorporate these nutrition tips and habits into your daily routine to optimize your health and set the stage for longevity.
A word from Longevity NOW!
Midlife brings about significant changes that require equally significant lifestyle adjustments. At the heart of these changes lies the role of nutrition, a cornerstone for maintaining a balanced life during these transformative years.
Let’s summarize the key elements of nutrition that are essential during midlife for women:
- Macronutrients. Prioritizing a balanced intake of proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates is crucial for hormonal health and weight management.
- Micronutrients. Don’t underestimate the power of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin D, Calcium, and Magnesium in regulating mood swings, maintaining bone health, and enhancing cognitive functions.
- Blood Sugar Management. Understanding the types of carbohydrates and their impact on blood sugar can help with anxiety and mood regulation.
- Natural Remedies. Utilizing foods and natural substances like chamomile tea and lemon balm can offer a safe alternative to medication for managing anxiety and sleep disturbances.
- Holistic Lifestyle Choices. Nutrition doesn’t act in a vacuum; your light environment, sleep quality, and mental state all interact with your nutritional choices to either compound benefits or exacerbate issues.
We would like to thank the guest author Maham Noor for sharing her invaluable insights on this critical topic. To stay updated with her latest work, you can follow her on Twitter. If you’re interested in learning more about dietician recommendations for women, we recommend checking out more of her articles here.