Once you have reached a certain age, the metabolism slows down, and you find yourself gaining weight. If you are in your 50s, hormonal changes might make things worse, with menopause showing its effects. The good news is that you can still maintain a great figure by resorting to some small, yet highly efficient diet changes. These can prevent the weight gain caused by the actual slowing down of the metabolism and, at the same time, they can help you deal with menopausal changes in a more efficient manner.

1. Cut back on your sugar intake

Being in your 50s, you are probably dealing with mood swings, fatigue and hot flashes on a regular basis. Given such challenges, you might be tempted to resort to sweets, to make yourself feel better. Sugar might give you a feeling of comfort on a short-term basis but, on the long run, it only makes matters worse. If you want to deal with the symptoms of the menopause efficiently and maintain a healthy weight, you have to cut back on your sugar intake. Remember, sugar has only empty calories to offer and it can wreak havoc on your glycemic index, increasing the risk for diabetes (and the metabolic syndrome). Replace sweets with healthy snacks, and you will have a lot to gain from this decision.

2. Eat more fish

While this may sound like the obvious thing to say, you need to consider including more fatty fish in your diet. Fish is rich in healthy fatty acids and, consumed on a regular basis; it can increase the levels of good cholesterol (HDL). This can balance out the bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of plaque buildup at the level of your arteries. Apart from that, fish also contains vitamin D, which facilitates the absorption of calcium within the body. Keep in mind that this rich content in omega-3 fatty acids is also beneficial for the health of the skin, preventing the appearance of neck and chest wrinkles.

3. Probiotics on a regular basis

Scientists have long established that the health of the gut influences the proper functioning of the entire body. In fact, the microbiome is responsible for managing hormone levels, which are widely out of balance during menopause. Women who are in their 50s are recommended to consume probiotics on a regular basis; they can either opt for foods that are rich in probiotics, such as kefir, tempeh or sauerkraut or choose probiotic supplements. For a more powerful effect, you can consume both probiotic-rich foods and take supplements at the same time. What matters is that you pay attention to the health of the gut, as this will also keep the hormone levels in check.

4. Reduce your overall caloric intake

As we age, our metabolism slows down. The lean body mass is also affected by the aging process, leading to noticeable changes about our weight. What you need to understand is this: the higher the age, the fewer calories are required to sustain the health of the body. If your metabolism has become sluggish and you have started to gain weight, it is recommended to reduce your overall caloric intake. You should also pay attention to the types of food you are eating; women in their 50s benefit the most from a diet that is rich in fiber and lean proteins. These can keep the metabolism in an active state and, at the same time, they support a healthy lean muscle mass.

5. Salt in moderate quantities

While salt is not necessarily bad for your health, the quantity does matter. Once you have reached a certain age, you present a higher risk for hypertension, which in turn favors more serious conditions (heart attacks, strokes). For this reason, it is more than advisable to cut back on salt, as a general rule. According to the recommendations made by the American Heart Association, you should stick to around 1500 mg of salt per day. This can prevent the development of high blood pressure and the negative consequences of such changes. Instead of salt, you should consider using more spices for your foods; keep in mind that many of these spices have anti-inflammatory properties, which is quite useful.

6. Eat smaller meals & more often

When menopause comes into the picture, the hormonal balance is no longer guaranteed. Among other things, this can favor weight gain and cause fluctuations about the glycemic index. Menopausal women often complain of headaches, fatigue, and lightheadedness. Moreover, because of these changes, you might be tempted to give into unhealthy cravings. To survive and avoid excess weight gain, change your meal plan. It is recommended to eat smaller meals, several times per day. Always opt for fresh ingredients and avoid meals that are either frozen or excessively refined.

7. Water, not alcohol

Alcohol induces a nice state of relaxation, and it can be a great tool when it comes to social interaction. But, at the same time, it can interact with your sleep and increase the risk of hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. At some point, you have to reduce the alcohol intake and increase the amount of water you drink on a daily basis. Dehydration can trick the brain into thinking a food is necessary, causing you to eat excessively. Moreover, the lack of moisture can affect the entire body, making the symptoms of menopause worse. It is for the best to cut back on caffeine and spicy foods as well, as these can lead to similar problems.

These are some of the small diet changes that you should consider making when you have reached this period of your life. Keep in mind that menopause will modify your entire existence, requiring some adaptations. For example, about your sex life, you might experience vaginal dryness and a reduced libido. The good news is that you can resort to products such as Zestra, to improve the quality of your sex life. These are essential arousal oils, and they can make a genuine difference, so be sure to give them a try.

Kathy Mitchell is a writer and avid researcher on the subject of Beauty, nutrition and general wellness. She likes to go out with her friends, travel, swim and practice yoga. In her free time, you can find Kathy curled up reading her favorite novel, or writing in her journal. To know more about her follow her on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. Official Email id: kathymitchell72@gmail.com