How women should eat for their age

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by Tami Hoey

AZ FAMILY

Posted on May 7, 2013 at 7:27 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 7 at 8:42 PM

PHOENIX, Arizona -- Think of your food as medicine: a way to keep you healthy as you get older.

Each decade of your life there are some foods you should add to your diet to head off health problems.

Registered dietitian Maya Nahra delivered some good advice Tuesday about what you should be eating in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s.

In your 20s, it's all about the Omegas, especially to combat depression. 

"We know that women are more likely to suffer depression than men," Nahra tells us. "Depression actually starts between 15 and 34 years old."

Omega 3 can fight depression by increasing serotonin, which helps your mood. Omega 3 can be found in foods like salmon, and even in some granola bars, like the almond, cashew and flax Kind Bars.

In your 30s, whole eggs and spinach can provide key nutrients. During the years where most women begin having children, choline becomes very important. That's a nutrient needed for child brain development. Spinach can give you the added bonus of folate.

In your 40s, it's all about iron.

"Iron helps your red blood cells, provides oxygen to the body, really increases your energy, as well," says Nahra.

Iron can be found in lean beef, bison and sunflower seeds. Women in their 40s should maintain 18 mg of iron in their diet per day for red blood cell health.

Those in their 50s should focus on calcium. Yogurt is a great source. Estrogen holds calcium in the bones, and after menopause we lose estrogen. That can lead to decreased bone strength. Yogurt supplies 300 mg of calcium (1/4 daily requirement). You can also pair calcium with vitamin D for increased absorption.

Finally, in your 60s, cook up some beans. Women over 55 are twice as likely to suffer from a heart attack. Beans contain necessary potassium to maintain healthy blood pressure, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease. An added bonus? Fiber can help with weight maintenance.

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