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Your 40s: healthy habits

Featuring content from MediResource Inc.

Eat your age. By this time in your life, you know which foods you love and loathe, but hopefully your mind remains open to new possibilities on your plate. That may mean trying healthy, functional foods you've never tried before. And it will likely mean eating less than you've ever eaten before. That's because as you get older, you need fewer calories per day, meaning you should consume fewer calories. Since the body's metabolism naturally slows down over time, enforcing this calorie cut could help you trim the fat, so to speak, and keep weight from piling on.

Favour functional foods. Do you live to eat or eat to live? Why choose? You can get the best of both if you choose foods that please the palate and emphasize the 40-something must-have nutrients. That way, you won't have to sweat the details of how many milligrams or micrograms you get of this vitamin or that mineral. A balanced yet varied diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources will likely also be filled with bone-boosting calcium and its companion vitamin D and the fibre you need to support your heart and digestive health.

Know your numbers. Though it's less stress to not think about the nitty-gritty details of your recommended daily intake of individual nutrients, it doesn't hurt to have the numbers in the back of your mind - or printed up and stuck on your fridge. Some of the vital vitamin and nutrient numbers to know:

  • Calcium and vitamin D play a big role in minimizing the bone loss that results when, in your 40s and 50s, your body's estrogen levels fluctuate and eventually fall. Your calcium count should be 1000 mg per day and your vitamin D intake should be 400 IU to 1000 IU per day.
  • Fat should make up no more than 30% of your total daily calorie count. Make the most of that 30% by opting for the "good" fats - mono- and polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts, and olive oil.
  • Your protein tally should be between 10% and 35% of your daily calorie intake.
  • The magic number for fibre: 25 g, the equivalent of about 5½ apples, but it's more fun to fit in fibre from an assortment of foods, like from beans, popcorn, raisins, a variety of veggies, and whole-grain breads. In general, a healthy adult needs 21 to 38 grams of fibre a day.

Be a body in motion. You may struggle to find time to fit in regular exercise. But every time you do manage to eke out even the shortest workout, your body will thank you a million times over. Just think about how good a burst of physical activity can feel - how you sleep better, how you handle stress with a more level head, and how you buzz with strong, focused energy for work or for play (of all sorts). And of course, a mix of aerobic exercise and strength training will help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of many chronic conditions, and preserve and build bone strength. Switch old, tired routines for a fresh approach. Trade your jog for an evening at the yoga studio - or vice versa!

Put pickles on the side. If you suddenly find yourself caught between parenting your children and caring for the needs of your aging parents, you're a part of the so-called "sandwich generation." For those stuck in the middle, stress and obligations can quickly pile on. Finding time for you can be a real pickle. So, put the pickles on the side. Set aside a few moments within each week in which you can focus on yourself. You could use your "me-time" to indulge in a vice or put your heart into healthy, relaxing, rejuvenating past-times. Or you might make a to-do list for the sole purpose of crossing off the things you've already accomplished.

Let your beauty shine through. Some signs of age reflect the joy of life lived well - crinkly crows-feet around smiling eyes, lines of laughter around the lips. Others reveal the stress and wear of the tougher moments, like that deep furrow between your eyes or that wrinkled "worry brow" you've got going on. Rather than give in to the temptation to conceal these visible reminders of age - with heavy makeup, or a nip, a tuck, a paralyzing shot to the temple - find ways to highlight your true, actual beauty. Keep your skin supple by drinking plenty of water and eating foods rich in antioxidants. Add antioxidant-infused skincare products to help restore skin that has been marred by sun or stress. Look for products with ingredient names like CoQ10 and vitamins A, C, and E. Apply moisturizer and exfoliate regularly to slough off dull, dry skin. Shield your skin from further solar damage with moisturizing, daily-wear sunscreen. If you feel your skin needs extra help, ask your doctor about prescription medications that may reduce appearance of brown spots, rough skin, and fine wrinkles caused by skin damage.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2018. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Your-40s-A-Health-Guide-for-Women