Cosmetic surgeons and manufacturers of skin- and hair-care products make millions from women over 50 seeking a more youthful appearance. But relationship guru Melinda Lee says women can look and feel healthy and sexy well into middle age by simply eating right, getting regular exercise, and taking good care of themselves.
The acclaimed author of the "Sexy Over 50" book series and creator of the Spoga mind-body workouts tells Newsmax Health aging gracefully can be achieved more cheaply — and easily — by natural methods, than through expensive surgical procedures and beauty products.
"In addition to moving your body properly … there are certain things that I think are more helpful than others, as far as eating," says Lee, a former editor of Balance magazine.
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Lee says three food groups can help women stay vital and healthy in middle age and beyond:
Berries: Lee recommends a diet rich in berries and other colorful fruits and vegetables, which are loaded with antioxidants and other compounds linked to health and longevity. "I would say the more color the better, [such as] dark red and green peppers," she says. "As far as fruits are concerned, [choose] berries — blueberries, raspberries, blackberries — [and] melons, in particular, are also good. Even though they don't have as much color they've got other vitamins and things in them that are good for people and they're low in calories too."
Nuts: She notes that tree nuts are nutritional powerhouses — packed with healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals — tied to heart and brain healthy. A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition even found that adults whose diets include nuts struggle less with weight problems. "The two best nuts that they've researched are walnuts and pistachios, of all things," Lee explains. "They're lower in fat and they also are high in protein, so instead of your red meats you might supplement your proteins with these nuts."
Seafood: Salmon, tuna, and other varieties of fish and seafood are high-protein, low-fat sources of healthy fish oil, which many studies have shown lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease, brain disorders, and even joint pain. "There's omega-3 fatty acids in them that are particularly good for the skin," Lee says. "And if you're going to do tuna, you want an albacore that is packaged in water and not oil."
In addition to eating well, Lee says you should also be sure to drink "lots and lots of water" — most experts recommend at least 48 ounces a day, for most healthy people — to stay hydrated.
"And, of course, for those of us that like to imbibe, occasionally, a little red wine, there's something called resveratrol that's in it that has all these anti-aging ingredients," she notes, adding women should drink no more than "one glass a day."
Lee suggests another quality that helps to boost sex appeal.
"I think that what makes someone sexy is … a vibrancy, a vitality about them," she observes, "so find something that you're passionate about … [so] people want to find out about you. That's what's sexy, more than anything else, I think: Your energy."
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