After menopause, a woman has less need for iron. Most women can get what they need from a balanced diet. However, some older women do not absorb nutrients as efficiently as they used to. That's why it's a good idea to keep these dietary tips in mind…

  • Choose foods that are high in iron, such as lentils and beans...lean, red meat...and dried fruits such as prunes and raisins. (For more sources of dietary iron, visit the Web site of the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements, btp:// factsheets/iron.asp.)
  • Help your body absorb more iron from food by consuming more vitamin C-rich fruits, vegetables and juices.
  • Make sure you get enough folate and vitamin B-12.
  • Are you a coffee or tea drinker? Don't partake during meals because these drinks can interfere with iron absorption.
  • Talk to your doctor about best ways to get the right amount of calcium. This mineral can also interfere with iron absorption.

Does Fat Make You Forgetful?

Older women's scores on memory tests declined with every unit increase in their Body Mass Indexes (BMIS)—a measurement of body fat versus height. Men were not studied. Excess body fat also is known to increase the risk for heart disease and Alzheimer's disease. For people over age 70, optimal BMI is between 25 and 27slightly higher than the "normal" BMI range of 185 to 249 for people ages 18 to 69. To calculate your BMI, go to

High Carbs and Heart Disease

Women who eat " white foods"-white bread, white rice, pasta-have more heart disease.

Recent finding: Women who consume a lot of carbohydrates that cause fast increases in blood sugar—that is, foods with high-glycemic indexes—have a higher risk for heart disease than women who eat carbs with a low-glycemic index. Women who ate the most high-glycemic foods had twice the risk for heart disease as women who ate the least. Low-glycemic foods include most vegetables and whole-grain products. The effect was seen only in women, not in men.

Want to Keep Reading?

Continue reading with a Health Confidential membership.

Sign up now Already have an account? Sign in