As we find ourselves in the midst of Veganuary, I’ve been reflecting on my own transition to a plant-based diet and how it has positively impacted my life, particularly as I get older. I thought it would be a good time to share the benefits of plant-based eating and how can be especially helpful for women in their middle years and beyond.
As we age and our estrogen levels drop, our risk for heart disease increases. Consuming a diet rich in plant fiber can blunt this risk. Research indicates that plant-based diets can significantly improve cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure. Regularly include heart-healthy foods like oats, berries, and nuts in your diet.
Osteoporosis risk increases as women age. A diet rich in plant-based calcium sources can be a game-changer. Try incorporating a daily green smoothie with kale and almond milk. Additionally, vitamin D plays a key role in calcium absorption and as we age our levels are lower, so consider supplements or vitamin D-rich foods. This is especially important if you have limited sun exposure.
Managing Menopause Symptoms
Phytoestrogens in soy products can offer natural relief from menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. Incorporating soy into your diet, along with regular physical activity and stress reduction techniques, can create a holistic approach to managing menopause. I found it was very effective when I switched to soy milk and increased other types of soy in my diet.
Weight Management During Aging
It is normal for women to gain about 10 pounds during menopause because our body is trying to compensate for lower circulating estrogen but other factors can contribute to add more unwanted pounds. That lower estrogen can also negatively influence our microbiome. The high fiber content in a plant-based diet has been my secret to maintaining a healthy weight. The higher fiber fills you up on nutrient dense foods and it also supports a diverse microbiome. Consider starting your day with a fiber-rich breakfast, like oatmeal topped with fruit and nuts.
Chronic Disease Prevention
A plant-based diet is linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases. The anti-inflammatory properties of plant foods can help prevent conditions like type 2 diabetes
and certain cancers. For example, the high levels of antioxidants in fruits and vegetables are known to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, key factors in chronic disease development. Regularly include a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits in your meals to maximize the intake of protective antioxidants and phytonutrients.
Skin Health in Aging
Aging gracefully is not just about skincare products; it’s about what you eat. Plant-based diets, rich in antioxidants, can protect the skin from damage and support a healthy glow. Foods like avocados, nuts, and berries are not only delicious but also nourish your skin from within.
Incorporate berries, citrus fruits, and leafy greens into your daily diet
for their skin-enhancing properties
Recipe Highlight: Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
This recipe is not only delicious but also packed with plant-based protein and fiber. It’s perfect for a quick lunch or a hearty side dish.
- Ingredients: Cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, cherry tomatoes, avocado, lime juice, cilantro, olive oil, and spices. Full Recipe here.
Embracing a plant-based diet during Veganuary and beyond can offer numerous health benefits for women as they age. From supporting bone health to managing menopause symptoms and preventing chronic diseases, the power of plant-based eating is immense. Whether you’re well into your plant-based journey or just starting, there’s always something new and beneficial to discover.
P.S. If you’re interested in more resources, recipes, or personal guidance on transitioning to a plant-based diet, feel free to reach out. Together, we can make this journey towards a healthier, more vibrant you!