Simple 7: Nutrition Checklist for 40 Plus

Simple 7: Nutrition Checklist for 40 Plus

Perimenopause, Hormones, and Ageing: Our body’s become more demanding from our 40s onwards, making healthy eating even more important. This includes seven things: Vegetables & Fruits, Proteins, Fibre & Complex Carbohydrates, Probiotics, Good Fats, Fluid and the finishing touches.

Table of contents

The best guideline for a healthy diet from midlife onwards is provided by Mediterranean cuisine. Explored in numerous studies, it optimally supports the heart, brain, digestion, hormonal balance and healthy ageing. Often, this Mediterranean diet is combined with the DASH diet to create the MIND diet for top cognitive performance. We explain exactly what each of these are, along with the scientific foundations, at the end of this article.

With all the diets we are constantly told about, it only makes sense that we ask ourselves: What does this mean for my everyday life? What do I buy, what do I actually eat every day?

Our SIMPLE 7 concept illustrates this. Without complicated rules and restrictions - simply based on seven food groups.

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SIMPLE 7: DAILY NUTRITION CHECKLIST

The SIMPLE 7 is built to work as a daily checklist. Look at your meal and see if it is as close as possible to the checklist. You don't have to follow it meticulously; consider it an 80/20 guideline!

Above all, eat diversely and change your food often. The more diverse the selection, the more diverse the vitamins, minerals, secondary plant compounds, probiotic bacteria, prebiotics and fibre your body gets every day.

Remember these 4 principles for nutrients in your 40s and on:

  1. Too much sugar and too many fast carbohydrates are disadvantageous for inflammation processes, figure, skin, well-being and blood sugar levels.
  2. Too little protein, especially as you age, is not good for satiety and the maintenance of muscles and bones.
  3. Too many unhealthy fats (and too few good ones) has a negative impact on hormones, the heart and the brain.
  4. Regularly missing probiotics and fibre affects our gut health.

Above all, forget meticulous ingredient weighing and precise calorie counting. Healthy eating should be fun and enjoyable, not a torment!

SIMPLE 7: Seven Food Groups

The Simple 7 are seven components that make up a balanced meal:

Vegetables & Fruits, Proteins, Fiber & Complex Carbohydrates, Probiotics, Fats, Fluid and Herbs, Spices & Extracts.

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1. Vegetables + Fruits

Vegetables and fruits provide plenty of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and valuable secondary plant compounds, all with relatively few calories. The more you vary the types, the better because each type brings its unique variety of nutrients. From leafy greens, beets, cruciferous vegetables, bitter intense salads, mushrooms, berries to stone fruit - virtually the rainbow from top to bottom.
A major focus should be on leafy greens like kale, spinach, cabbage or lettuce. They are perfect for the brain, reducing the risk of dementia and cognitive decline. Just one portion a day noticeably slows down brain ageing. Why? Leafy, green vegetables are packed with brain-friendly nutrients like folate, vitamin E, carotenoids and flavonoids.

And fruit? "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is a good idea. And definitely berries - like strawberries or blueberries - because they keep the brain sharp, probably thanks to their many flavonoids.

Your Goal: Eat approximately 500g of vegetables daily (3 servings of vegetables, 2 servings of fruit).

  • Vegetables: Leaf spinach, kale, fennel, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, pak choi, carrot, sweet potato (cooked), chicory, lamb's lettuce, etc.
  • Fruits: Berries, kiwi, apple, orange, banana, mango, grapes, peaches, apricots, dates, plums, etc.

2. Proteins

Proteins are an absolute must-have for all women over 40, preferably from plant-based protein sources. Proteins are essential building blocks for cells, muscles and bones. They should be part of every meal. This ensures that your body is well supplied with essential amino acids throughout the day.
There are countless plant-based foods rich in proteins: beans, lentils, soybeans, and many grain products like oats or quinoa. Besides proteins, they also contain plenty of fibre and B vitamins. Another good source is also XbyX Daily Energy, complete with all 9 essential amino acids.

Especially for a healthy brain, sparing consumption of meat is recommended. However, fish and seafood can be part of the diet, ideally 2-3 times a week. They provide not only proteins but also healthy Omega-3 fats.

Your Goal: Daily 1-1.5g of protein per kg of body weight (athletes may aim for 2g).
Example: If you weigh 75kg (11 stone, 8lbs), you should be getting at least 75g of protein per day.

3. Fiber & Complex Carbohydrates

Fibre and complex carbohydrates, like the whole grain versions of cereals, rice, pasta, etc. must not be neglected. They provide a necessary source of energy to the body over several hours, are essential for a healthy gut flora, improve stress resistance and create a balanced mood.
Fibre satiates and promotes digestion. Especially from prebiotics, including onions, garlic, acacia fibres, artichoke, banana, chicory, asparagus, our valuable probiotic bacteria feed!

Fibre plays a crucial role in menopause, especially in cases of oestrogen dominance in perimenopause. Some fibres, like the lignans in flaxseeds, also act as phytoestrogens. Fibre-rich foods include spelt flakes or bran, oat flakes or bran, flaxseeds, psyllium husks, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, and all legumes.

Your Goal: Eat 35-45g of fibre per day.


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4. Fats

Healthy fats are also a must-have after 40. They are naturally found in many proteins, such as the Omega-3 fats in fish. Fats are essential for hormones, cell walls and help absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), as well as protect organs. Additionally, healthy fats like olive oil, nuts and seeds enhance the taste of many dishes. Olive oil, a staple of Mediterranean nutrition, is ideal for cooking.
There are even different types of Omega-3 fats found in different foods, such as ALA, DHA and EPA. You can get ALA fats from flaxseed oil, flaxseeds and walnuts. DHA and EPA mostly come from fish, algae or algae oil. Fats from avocado, almonds or seeds are also good.

Nuts are high in fat and therefore calorie-rich, but they contain a lot of fat-soluble vitamin E, known for its brain-protecting properties. Eat a handful of nuts at least five times a week, or yogurt with a bit of almond butter - instead of processed snacks like chips or pastries. Choose the natural, unsalted and not roasted versions. Top tip: It's even better if you have to crack nuts and seeds out of their shell!

Saturated animal fats should only be eaten in moderation.

5. Probiotics

Live bacterial cultures create a healthy microbiome in the gut. And the gut plays a central role in our hormonal balance, influences mood, the immune system, oestrogen metabolism, and vaginal microbiome. Not every one of our usually three daily meals has to include probiotic foods, but at least one should, as our body has no storage function for probiotics.
Probiotics are found in natural yoghurt, water kefir, milk kefir, kombucha, ayran, buttermilk, skyr, soy, lupine or coconut yoghurt (make sure there's no added sugar!). Fermented vegetables like kimchi, sauerkraut and red cabbage, as well as in herring and Harzer cheese are also great sources. Ideally, combine different types to increase the variety of probiotics in your gut.

Your Goal: At least 1-2 servings of probiotics daily.

6. Fluid

Liquids? Isn't this about food? While we primarily cover our daily fluid needs with beverages like water or unsweetened teas. We can also boost our fluid intake in some of our meals.Soups and healthy, homemade smoothies are great options to increase your fluid intake while upping your vitamins! Even those who generally eat a lot of vegetables benefit from plenty of stomach-filling, satisfying meals and the fluid in them.
Remember that calorie-rich liquids are more like meals than thirst-quenchers. Adequate water is especially important during menopause - for the gut, skin, brain and everything else.

Your Goal: Drink about 2 litres of water or unsweetened tea per day.

7. Finishing Touch

What we refer to as ”the finishing touches” are the other substances like herbs, spices and plant extracts that may be small but effective in their impact. They support us in various ways, often acting as balancing, anti-inflammatory, digestion-promoting, anti-bloating, immune-strengthening and mood-lifting agents. And importantly, herbs and spices add the best flavour to our food!
So, what are some examples of herbs with great benefits? Ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, lemon, lime, mint, dill, fennel, basil, parsley, nettle, coconut flakes, raw cacao powder and natural XbyX® plant extracts with active ingredients like Maca (Lust for Life), Ashwagandha (Take it Easy), Cordyceps (Phyto Power), or Hedgehog Spine Mushroom (Think Clearly).

Your Goal: Add at least one or two ”finishing touches” to every meal!

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SIMPLE 7: The Scientific Foundation

The basics from which we derived our Simple 7, as a brief overview. Those who want to delve deeper are best off clicking through the references or treating themselves to our XbyX Bodybalance program.

  • Mediterranean Diet: It focuses on plant-based foods like whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. Olive oil is the primary source of additional fats. Fish, seafood, dairy and poultry are included in moderation. Red meat and sweets are only consumed occasionally. Well-researched dietary approach for the best heart health. Learn more: Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid
  • DASH Diet (for heart health, blood vessels & blood pressure - Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) includes foods rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium. These nutrients contribute to blood pressure control. DASH restricts foods high in sodium, saturated fats and added sugars.
  • MIND Diet: The MIND concept (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) was developed to prevent dementia and slow down age-related cognitive decline. The focus is on vegetables, especially plenty of leafy greens, berries, nuts, olive oil, fish and wine. Red meat should be consumed less than four times a week.


By the way: In this context, "diet" refers to a specific dietary approach.
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SOURCES AND REFERENCES

Improve brain health with the MIND diet
Mayo Clinic
DASH Eating Plan: DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a flexible and balanced eating plan that helps create a heart-healthy eating style for life National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, December 29, 2021
DASH diet: Healthy eating to lower your blood pressure Mayo Clinic
Mediterranean diet for heart health Mayo Clinic
Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit Nutrients. 2019 May 22;11(5):1136. doi: 10.3390/nu11051136, PMID: 31121843