Five Questions with Shape Magazine: Women in Their 40s

Topics: Wellness and Health

I played 5 questions with Shape Magazine for a July article for women who want to stay healthy in their 40s. Here are the quickie answers.

1. Why does heart disease risk increase as women age?
In their 40s, women gradually lose the cardiac protection of estrogen.

2. How much does our diet influence how we age, both regarding internal effects (healthy joints, disease prevention) and external (better skin tone, fewer wrinkles, brighter eyes, healthier hair, etc)?
There are 149 factors that influence your rate of aging, and after smoking, what you eat is most important (from our still awesome RealAge Diet book).

3. How does including foods like sardines affect our heart health?
Foods rich in omega-3s like sardines protect the heart because their omega 3s are anti-inflammatory. And inflammation probably causes heart disease.

4. Mushrooms contain selenium. What is the connection between selenium and cancer prevention?
In the animals, adding selenium can reduce the risk for developing breast cancer, but no benefit has been shown in women.  Selenium might reduce risk for lung cancer in people who are selenium deficient. Brazil nuts are the best food source.

5. Other than weight control, are there any specific reasons re: disease prevention a woman might want to include whole grains in her diet?
Sure. From the Whole Grains Council’s research:
• reduced risk of asthma
• reduction of inflammatory disease risk
• lower risk of colorectal cancer
• less gum disease and tooth loss