As women get older their risk for developing heart disease increases and it becomes harder to lose fat. According to the American Heart Association heart disease is the number one cause of death for women over 50. Gaining weight can also increase your risk of developing heart disease. But making sure that your hormones are balanced can help you lose weight and lower your risk of developing heart disease.
Hormonal changes are common in women as they approach their late 40s and early 50s. Unbalanced hormones are usually why women over 50 have trouble maintaining a healthy weight even if they eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. So if you have noticed that you have been gaining weight and you haven’t made any lifestyle changes it’s probably hormonal imbalance that is causing you to gain weight.
Hormones And Heart Health
The American Heart Association has found that women tend to be at a high risk for heart attacks about 10 years after menopause. Lower amounts of Estrogen in the body after menopause could be a contributing factor to the increased risk of heart disease. Estrogen is a natural hormone that women need in order to keep their bodies functioning well, but estrogen levels decrease after menopause. Hormone replacement therapy can increase the levels of estrogen in the body and eliminate the symptoms of menopause but it has not been shown to significantly decrease the risk of heart disease. If you are considering hormone replacement therapy you should talk to your doctor to find out if you are a good candidate for this therapy.
Hormones And Weight Gain
Weight gain or the inability to lose fat after 50 usually occurs because of an imbalance in four primary hormones: estrogen, leptin, cortisol, and insulin. Leptin is a hormone that is released to tell your body when you’ve eaten enough food. If you don’t have enough leptin in your body you will always feel hungry, even after you’ve eaten a big meal.
Cortisol is sometimes called the stress hormone. The cortisol is released by your adrenal glands when you are under a lot of stress. Cortisol is designed to stop your “flight or fight” reflex that occurs during periods of intense stress. But if your body has too much cortisol it can start to store fat, usually in the midsection. If you are gaining belly fat it is probably due to a cortisol imbalance.
Insulin you are probably already familiar it. It’s a hormone that regulates your blood sugar. If you have an Insulin imbalance your body isn’t able to properly process the sugar in your blood and that sugar ends up getting stored in the body as fat that can be used for energy later on. When these four hormones are out of whack the result is weight gain or the inability to lose fat, even if you are on a healthy diet and you exercise.
There are several different ways to balance these hormones and get your body working properly again. There are supplements that you can take which will help provide hormonal balance. Or you could decide to try hormone replacement therapy. But one the most effective ways to naturally balance your hormones as you get older is to make some lifestyle changes. A healthy diet and regular exercise can naturally kick your start your production of hormones and get your body back in balance.
What To Eat
A healthy diet for women over 50 should be primarily centered on vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. You should limit the amount of red meat that you eat in order to minimize the risk of heart disease. A sensible diet that includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy whole grains like oats and rice is essential for women as they get older.
Exercise is also essential. Doctors recommend women over 50 get at least 30 minutes per day of cardio exercise like walking, cycling, or swimming in order to promote heart health and to maintain a healthy weight. If you want to lose weight you should be getting at least an hour of aerobic activity most days of the week.