Not long ago, in one of my workshops, a simple question about turning forty sparked hours-long session; while women wondered why they could no longer eat all they want and remain slim, wrinkles too were no less of a concern, balding and a reduced sex drive made the prime concern for men! The onset of mild depression, irregular menstruation in women, and reduced muscle strength, chronic fatigue, lower libido, bloated abdomen in men, could all be the signs of declining hormone levels.
Some would argue, one doesn’t turn forty over-night, true, however, there is a hormonal shift that can bring about cellular and psychological changes once you turn forty. While you cannot hold on to time, you can reverse or accelerate the aging process through your food choice. While what you eat is important at all ages, in the forties it is the basis of an uphill /downhill road to health. At my clinic, I have observed that people regain health and beauty even after years of abusive eating and lifestyle. The change is evident in their energy level, in their skin, immune function, weight, mood, blood sugar etc. So, it’s never too late! As you grow forty, you try to add meaning to your life, then why not meaningful food? Here’s how!
After forty your body responds differently; sugar cravings increase, you feel less energetic, your appetite for starchy food (rice, pasta, bread) may increase. At the same time, your metabolism slows down; your body needs fewer calories to get through the day. From a health perspective, there is a way to deal with this transition.
Post 40 age-defying health and fitness tips
To curb the aging process first began to manage your weight.
Detoxify regularly: Inner cleansing or detoxification is a process of clearing toxins from the body thereby cleansing it of mucus and congestion. It is important as an overall lifestyle and needs specific dietary changes. It is an important tool in treating obesity, as obesity is always associated with toxicity. Almost everyone needs to detoxify from time to time. Some of us who lead a life of excesses, and those who eat excessively at night, need to detox more frequently (twice a year).
Juice up to defy age – Incorporate fresh green juices, vegetable juices (spinach, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, carrot, tomato, beet), coconut water and plenty of water with a squeeze of lemon. Green juices and vegetable juices will supply your body with plenty of vitamins, minerals and chlorophyll.
Do not neglect your protein. Protein is an important part of a healthy diet but getting more protein in your 40s is the key to prevent age-related muscle loss.
Make sure you weight train once a week. It will improve your health by raising the metabolism, keep blood sugar level in check, improve your brain function, and will lower the risk of lifestyle diseases.
Increase the fiber content in your diet by eating more whole grains, fruit, vegetables and whole pulses.
Consume antioxidants: Free radicals are known to accelerate the aging process. Antioxidants like vitamin E, C, A, selenium, bioflavonoids and polyphenols are known to douse free radical activity and slow down the aging process.
Take Supplements: Ginko Biloba is a herbal supplement which is known to improve alertness and memory. This is because it helps improve circulation to the brain tissue. Increased blood flow to the brain tissue help improves its functioning, by bringing in more oxygen & stimulating blood circulation on the tiny capillaries of the brain. The recommended dose is about 40mg once or twice a day for those who are above 50 yrs of age.
B12 is important: Vitamin B12 is called the ‘brain food’. As we grow older the body is unable to absorb sufficient B12 from food. This leads to neurological disturbances like loss of balance, (a person is unable to walk straight), muscle weakness, poor vision, mood disturbances & if the deficiency goes on over a period of time you can precipitate ‘pseudo senility’. Taking vitamin B12 supplements can reverse this problem to some extent. B12 is found in milk & milk products, red meat eggs, fish & most non-vegetarian foods. Therefore, vegetarians have a special need to take vitamin B12 supplements to protect the brain from aging.
The role of relationships in health: Try to develop loving relationships with your family, friends, spouse, pets – anyone! Love is rejuvenating. It makes life meaningful. It has healing energy and a powerful stimulant to the immune system. People who bond well with family and friends feel contented and are better equipped to fight disease. The act of giving and receiving love acts as a shield from the stressors of life and prevents needless aging. A loving relationship with anyone – even plants and pets is good for longevity and youthfulness.
Growing old is hard on your body unless you take steps to preserve your youth. Over the years you will lose muscle mass and bone density, gain fat around your abdomen and have declining immunity and energy levels. Fortunately following the above basic rules that can help you slow down the aging process.
As Published on Dec 10th, 2018 in Hindustan Times.