As we grow older, our dietary needs evolve and the definition of healthy eating changes. What used to work when you were twenty or thirty no longer does. For example, your metabolism slows down which means that your body cannot process as much calories as it did. Meanwhile, your body requires more of certain nutrients.
This means that you need to now carefully choose foods that give optimal nutritional value. You need to know that healthy eating begins with you, and feeding your body the right nutrients not only helps you stay active and independent but also means that you spend less time and less money at the doctor’s.
As you step into your 40s, here are 10 simple dietary guidelines to help you live a better and fuller life:
- A diet that is high in fiber, high in protein and low in carbs remains the best diet for you, as it is for anyone looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, you should never forget to include a carbohydrate food like pasta or potato in each meal. Don’t cut carbs out of your diet completely.
- Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, preferably five servings per day. Fruits and vegetables are packed full of extremely important nutrients that keep you healthy. You can go for the dried, frozen or tinned version if you cannot get fresh fruits and vegetables every day.
- Keep your bones as healthy as you can by eating three servings of low-fat dairy foods per day. Better still, go for dairy foods fortified added calcium and vitamin D.
- Load up on calcium as well as Vitamin D. This is because older adults need extra calcium and vitamin D to help maintain bone health. Also load up on iron and Vitamin B12. Iron will make the job of carrying oxygen around your body easier, while vitamin B12 helps to keep your brain sharp and your nervous system healthy.
- Reduce your salt intake, as too much salt, can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. Check food labels to so as to choose foods with a low amount of salt.
- Match your food intake with adequate physical activity. An active lifestyle requires more food than a more sedentary one does, so make sure to balance what you eat against how active you are.
- Only consume heart-healthy fats such as monounsaturated fat (found in olive oil, rapeseed oil, unsalted peanuts, almonds) and polyunsaturated fat (found in oily fish, sunflower oil, sesame oil, walnuts, and hazelnuts) and avoid saturated fat and trans fat.
- Go for fresh foods as much as you can and limit your intake of processed food. This means limiting foods such as biscuits, cakes, and sweets that are high in empty calories but that do nothing beneficial for the body.
- Reduce your alcohol intake. If you are a woman, it is recommended you don’t take more than 11 standards drinks a week. For men, 17 standard drinks a week is the max.
- Drink water constantly in order to stay hydrated, as dehydration causes dizziness, tiredness, and constipation. Aim for 8 glasses a day.