Vegan After 40 – Should You Become Vegan After 40?
After age 40, your metabolism begins to slow down. This is also the age you start losing lean muscle. This is the main calorie-burning engine in your body. This is also linked to dropping estrogen and testosterone levels. For women this accompanies perimenopause and menopause.
Hot flashes — those sudden surges of hot skin and sweat associated with menopause and perimenopause — start for most women in their 40s. First, hot flashes occur less frequently in perimenopause (the pre-menopause years) than during menopause.
But one of the most common issues is unexplained weight gain.
Because of the popularity of plant-based eating, this is also the age when many people consider veganism.
78% of vegans went vegan between the ages of 16 and 34, with 52% between the ages of 16 and 24. The average (mean) age for turning vegan is 24.1, although the most frequent ages are 19, 20, and 21. US vegans generally turned vegan younger (mean age 22.4) than UK vegans (mean age 24.9).
According to Harvard.Edu
“A study published in April 2019 in The Journal of Nutrition found that a vegan diet slightly outperformed a pescatarian diet and a Lacto-Ovo diet when it came to the amount of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids in the blood and that a vegan diet significantly outperformed diets with meat.”
But it is important to focus on certain nutrients with a vegan diet.
Calcium. Calcium is important to many functions, especially bone, dental, heart, nerve, and blood health.
Protein. We need protein to build strong muscles, bones, and skin — particularly as we age and lose muscle and bone mass and have a harder time healing from wounds.
Vitamin B12. This vitamin comes only from animal-based foods. B12 is crucial to our DNA, red blood cell formation, new cell growth, glucose metabolism, and maintaining our nervous system and thinking skills.
In addition, you may have trouble getting enough calories on a highly restricted diet. If you don’t give your body enough fuel, you may become tired or malnourished.
Avoid calcium deficiency. Eat plant-based foods that are rich in calcium: almonds, dark leafy greens (kale, spinach), figs, tofu, and oranges. A medium-sized orange has about 50 milligrams (mg) of calcium; a cup of cooked collard greens has 268 mg of calcium. Aim for 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium per day.
Get enough protein. Eat protein-rich plant foods: soy products (tofu, tempeh, and edamame), legumes (beans, lentils), nuts (walnuts, almonds), chia seeds, and spirulina (blue or green algae). For example, a cup of canned navy beans has 20 grams of protein. Chia seeds have about 4.5 grams of protein per ounce, and sunflower seeds have about 6 grams per ounce. You need about 7 grams of protein daily for every 20 pounds of body weight.
Avoid vitamin B12 deficiency. Try B12-enriched vegan foods such as fortified plant milk (like almond or soy milk) or fortified cereals. McManus says you may need to take a B12 supplement while on a vegan diet. We also advise that your doctor check your blood level of vitamin B12 regularly.
It is wise to get the okay from your doctor before starting a vegan diet, and then seek advice from a registered dietitian, who can tailor an eating plan to your nutritional needs.
Combine plant food sources for the maximum amount of vitamins and nutrients. Soups, salads, and smoothies with lots of different kinds of foods will help you maximize calories and nutrients.