Fighting fit at forty
In the forties, the body
undergoes hormonal changes and metabolism slows down. Reduced muscle
strength and chronic fatigue occur. Age-busting exercises and
nutritious diet help us to beat the clock
In your forties eat more whole grains, dals, beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. These foods provide us with fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, etc to fight many age-related diseases and disorders Thinkstock
Black and white sesame seeds are good sources of zinc, which not only sensitises the body tissues to insulin but also helps to minimise sugar cravings and to rev-up immunity
Consumption of soy products is beneficial in ageing diseases like type II diabetes, menopausal complaints, prostrate gland enlargement in men & osteoporosis etc
We all know that ageing
is inevitable — but how gracefully you age is up to you. Scientific
research shows that we can turn back the clock through a targeted
regimen of age-busting exercises and nutrition. By exercising for just
30 minutes a day and eating for maximum health and vitality, we can
not only build strength, shed extra pounds, improve flexibility and
balance, but also look years younger, even after forty and beyond.
Women often start having
weight problems (gaining weight); undergo mild depression and
menstrual irregularities as they turn forty. Most men experience
lowered libido, reduced muscle strength, chronic fatigue, and bloated
abdomen mainly in their late forties. All these are signs of declining
hormone levels and changing metabolism which slows down. This ageing
process is further accentuated by day-to-day stress. The same diet
which worked for you a decade ago would most definitely not work for
you after you have crossed forty. While no one can stop the passage of
time, you can control the damage and the way you look by taking
advantage of the benefits of better nutrition.
It's important to
remember that your body behaves differently after forty. Your
metabolism slows down, sugar cravings increase and energy levels dip.
Your appetite for starchy food (rice, pasta, bread) may increase. At
the same time your body needs fewer calories to get through the day.
The way to deal with this problem is to make yourself more important
than food. Focus on the quality of food rather than quantity. Choose
foods dense in nutrients. No matter, how much the exercise or vitamin
supplements, the formula for fitness is incomplete without a
Diet wisdom for keeping
A number of strategies
can assist an individual to achieve fitness post forty. Following a
healthy diet and regular exercise will improve physical and mental
health and promote wellbeing.
Post forty, include
low-fat, high-fibre foods in your daily diet. Eat more whole grains, dals,
beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. These foods provide us with
fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which help in reversing
the ageing process whilst arming us with vital nutrients to fight many
age-related diseases and disorders.
adequate calcium intake will help to slow bone loss. Intake of low-fat
dairy products, whole pulses, soybean and black sesame seeds on a
regular basis is a must.
As age increases,
limit your intake of caffeine, soft drinks and alcohol as these leach
out the much-required calcium from the bones. It is healthier to
switch to plain water, green tea, soups, vegetable and fruit juices,
buttermilk and coconut water to hydrate your system.
Zinc is an important
mineral but becomes even more so after forty as it is shown to
sensitise the body tissues to insulin. It also helps to minimise sugar
cravings and to rev-up immunity. Most people, who gain weight easily
in their forties, are also those who have uncontrollable sugar
cravings. Consuming zinc supplements is helpful and so is taking good
natural sources of zinc like black and white sesame seeds and pumpkin
Avoid table sugar,
sugary drinks, excessive intake of sweets completely and indulge in
the natural goodness of dates, black raisins, fresh fruits, figs etc.
Keep your calorie
consumption and saturated fat intake down. Restrict intake of excess
salt in foods. Avoid table salt and salty foods, snacks, chips, etc.
Reduce intake of
animal proteins to not more than once or twice a day. However, try
including fish, especially the oily ones like sardines (grilled,
steamed or baked) at least 2-3 times in a week. These pack in
heart-friendly omega 3 fatty acids.
Regular consumption of
soybeans is known to benefit in most ageing diseases like type II
diabetes, menopausal complaints, prostrate gland enlargements in men,
premenstrual syndrome, osteoporosis etc. You can include soya in your
daily diet by switching to soya milk. Drink at least one cup of soya
milk everyday and eat at least 50 gm of soya flour daily. You can mix
it with wheat flour in order to make chapattis, roasted soya
nuts and soya biscuits can be used as in between snack foods.
Regular, weight-bearing exercises (exercises which are done on the
feet such as walking, jogging, dancing) are known to slow bone loss.
On the other hand, an aerobic exercise (exercise which increases the
heart rate) would prove beneficial for maintaining good cardiovascular
health and keeping the body's joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons
strong and mobile.
stress-management strategies are beneficial as stress may interfere
with the proper functioning of the adrenal glands. Activities such as
yoga, meditation, stretching, Tai chi and regular exercise help to
relieve built-up tension.
Taking supplements of
antioxidants along with the B-vitamins goes a long way in delaying the
Getting fit and healthy
for decades to come after forty is an ongoing process, a journey that
keeps you "alive" and "spirited" as you begin to
live in a better body.
— The writer is a
nutritionist. She treats obesity and related health disorders online .
She can be reached at email@example.com / www.health-total.com