3 Food Fundamentals An OB/GYN Recommends For Women & Healthy Aging
Every person has a cellular metabolism, which is responsible for producing energy in the body and regenerating new cells. Though cellular health naturally declines with age, certain lifestyle habits may ease the process.
According to OB/GYN Alyssa Dweck, M.D., M.S., FACOG, women, in particular, can support healthy aging and optimize cellular metabolism through nutrition.
The link between nutrition and women's aging.
As women go through perimenopause and menopause, they experience hormonal changes, Dweck says during a mindbodygreen podcast episode. Those hormones lead to changes in metabolism and a diminishment of muscle mass, which can decrease overall energy.
While these changes occur closer to midlife, Dweck says it's never too early to implement healthy eating habits.
What kind of diet supports healthy aging?
"I'm an advocate of a lifestyle diet rather than a diet that you do for a couple of weeks and then go off of," Dweck says. "Typically, in the gyno world, we recommend the Mediterranean diet."
Unlike most diets, the Mediterranean diet is focused on optimizing health, not just weight loss. It's been voted the best diet for overall health, along with the easiest to follow, because of the balanced macronutrients and nonrestrictive food groups.
In particular, Dweck recommends these three dietary tips:
- Eat lean proteins.
- Use olive oil in place of butter.
- Limit salt and opt for flavorful spices.
What about drinking?
When it comes to drinking, Dweck says "moderation is key" and recommends no more than one to two glasses of wine per day.
Alcohol can also exacerbate hot flashes, night sweats, or sleep interruption, Dweck explains, so women experiencing perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms may benefit even more from moderating alcohol use.
Following a Mediterranean diet and moderating alcohol intake can support healthy aging, particularly in women going through menopause. "We do see many people who age gracefully in the Mediterranean population," Dweck says. "So I think we really can take our lesson from that."
Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine. She has covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to celebrity entrepreneurship. Moore worked on the copywriting and marketing team at Siete Family Foods before moving to New York.