The Best Foods for Your Age, According to Science
The Food: Cottage Cheese
Why: Your bone density stays pretty steady from 30 to 50, according to the NIH, but in the first few years after menopause, most women experience a sharp drop that puts them at greater risk for osteoporosis. That's why you need an extra 200 mg of calcium per day after age 50, which you can get from many sources, cottage cheese included. At this age, food sources may be a safer bet than calcium supplements–a new study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that women between the ages of 45 and 84 taking calcium supplements for their bones were more likely to have plaque buildup in their arteries, increasing the risk for heart attacks.
Where else you can get calcium: The usual dairy sources, or you can branch out with foods like white beans, black-eyed peas or seaweed.
The Food: Salmon
Why: After age 55, women's heart-disease risk goes up, partially because estrogen helped protect your body against it, and now that you're through menopause, your estrogen levels are lower. "Fats from fish like salmon can help lower your risk," says McDaniel. Research in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a Mediterranean diet (which emphasizes healthy fats like omega-3s) reduced the risk of serious cardiac events among people at high risk for developing heart disease. Fiber is also important, notes McDaniel, because it can help keep your cholesterol levels down.
Where else you can get healthy fats: Olive oil, nuts, seeds or any of the other omega-3 sources we've already mentioned.