As we age, the needs of our bodies change. While family history plays a role in your overall health, the lifestyle choices you make can reduce your health risks. Here are a few tips for women 55 and older on actions that can be taken to improve your quality of life today and throughout the years to come.
Check your iron intake. After menopause, women only require about 8 mg of iron each day. If you are taking a supplement which has iron in it, you may want to ask your doctor if it should be discontinued for a supplement without iron. You should be able to get the iron you need from eating green leafy vegetables and/or red meat as part of a regular diet.
Stock up on calcium. As we age, our bones become more brittle. Women are especially prone to this, as the risk of osteoporosis rises after menopause when estrogen production ceases. Consider a calcium supplement, or ensure you are getting enough calcium-rich foods in your diet to make up for this.
Strength training. In addition to calcium supplements, you can help retain your bone and muscle mass as you age through regular strength training. Ask your doctor if a light strength training or water aerobics class is right for you.
Manage your prescriptions. Over half of all older Americans take daily medications. Sometimes keeping up with it all can seem like a daunting task. But keeping a record of your medications – both those you are prescribed and the ones you take over the counter –and discussing them often with your doctor can help you avoid using medications incorrectly.
Fiber is still a big plus. Getting more fiber in your diet has been shown to reduce your chances of type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer, and may also help lower your cholesterol levels. Fiber can be taken as a supplement, or ingested through a diet which includes more whole grains.
Stay hydrated. Some seniors may lose their sense of thirst, but that doesn’t mean that the body doesn’t need liquids. Many also take medications that deplete the body’s water, making older adults even more prone to dehydration. Make a habit of getting eight glasses of water or other liquids a day. This could be tea, lemonade, juice, or milk. Even consuming foods like soups and stews can help you stay hydrated.