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As women age, they become prone to several heath ailments such as heart disease and danger of stroke increases. This happens because women have a limited amount of oestrogen once they go through menopause. Once they’re oestrogen-deficient, they’re at risk for heart disease. Here are five nutrients that may help protect women from heart disease, as well as lower the risk of other chronic conditions such as osteoporosis, diabetes, breast cancer and high blood pressure, as she ages.
Women who don’t get enough Vitamin D could develop brittle bones, or even worse, osteoporosis, as the nutrient helps the body absorb calcium, which helps keep aging bones strong. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found taking high doses (800 international units) of Vitamin D daily could reduce the risk of hip fractures in older women by 30 per cent.
Solution: There are three ways of getting Vitamin D: from the skin, from your diet and from vitamin supplements. Women can boost their Vitamin D intake by increasing their dairy products such as milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese, and hard cheese.
NUTRIENT: FOLIC ACID (VITAMIN B9)
A daily dose of folic acid is necessary for older women, as it is also cardio-protective, so it helps build new tissue. Signs of low folic acid levels include anaemia, weight loss, weakness, headaches and high levels of homocysteine in the blood, a risk factor for heart disease.
Solution: Women must consume daily allowance of 400 micrograms of folic acid a day, which can be found in leafy green vegetables, citrus, berries, nuts and olive oil.
Calcium helps to make new bone cells, and as women approach menopause, the ability to make new bone cells decreases.
Solution: Drinking milk does not provide enough calcium to make up the difference. Besides dairy products, calcium can also be found in tofu, cereals, soy and rice beverages, vegetables such as kale, broccoli and Chinese cabbage, and fish with soft bones such as sardines and salmon.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Consuming a higher amount of fish and Omega-3 fatty acids helps in lower risk of heart disease among women. Research has shown that Omega-3 fatty acids can increase the good cholesterol, and decrease the bad one.
Solution: Studies have found that fish oil supplements reduced triglyceride levels by 20 to 50 per cent. Eat fatty fish like salmon, tilapia or codfish -at least twice a week.
Low levels of vitamin B12 tend to occur in women as they age. Older adults may not have enough hydrochloric acid in their stomach to absorb the vitamin. Women who don’t get enough of B12 can experience fatigue, weight loss, poor memory, dementia and depression. According to a study, postmenopausal women who lack nutrients in their diets, including vitamin B12, have an increased risk of becoming anemic.
Solution: The recommended daily amount of B12 is 2.4 micrograms daily for adults, and the vitamin can be found in foods such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and fortified breakfast cereals.