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Diet for the over-40s

Donovan GRANT

Monday, December 03, 2018

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Dear Donovan,

What is the best diet or best foods for those over 40, nearing 50? Are there any superfoods that can fix decades of consuming a poor diet? And what about exercise? I want to get my muscles out of their comfort zone and want to know what the best and most useful exercises are. I've had mainly a sedentary lifestyle, on a potato and meat diet, and haven't done much exercise except for the occasional laps around my pool. I am 48 years old, and 180 pounds, with no major health conditions.

There is no denying that as we become older we are at greater risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, back pain, elevated cholesterol, sagging skin, osteoporosis and belly fat, just to name a few. However, the good news is that instead of waiting for these conditions to happen, we can choose to take control of the situation with proper diet and exercise. I am very happy that since you are now over 40 you have decided you want to make some changes in your lifestyle.

However, I must tell you that a diet plan for a person over 40 must take into consideration their medical status, calorie requirements and their specific nutrient needs. In most cases one size does not fit all. That said, the main aim of a diet for a person over 40 should be to avoid excessive sugar, salt, and saturated fat. In addition, the diet should incorporate adequate amounts of fibre and overall the calories from these meals must keep your weight in a normal range.

Fibre-rich foods can also help to keep the weight down and cholesterol under control. It is also important to eat as much food in their unprocessed state as possible. In this case you will be able to get your nutrients without the unnecessary additives.

Overall, you should also be aware that your calorie needs decrease as you grow older. This is particularly true in your 40s. The main reason for the decrease is that your metabolic rate usually slows down and there is always the tendency to become less active. In addition, hormonal changes can also affect the appetite so it is very important to determine your calorie needs so you do not become too fat or too slim.

As you have suspected, at your age it is time to give your body foods which will promote youth, fight cancer, smooth out wrinkles, increase metabolism, boost the immune system, and make you look and feel younger. These foods are known as super foods and you should try and incorporate them in your diet. I will now mention a few.

Avocados

This fruit has healthy fat which will help to reduce cholesterol.

Chia/flax seeds

These seeds have omega 3s which is good for the heart.

Blueberries

These are packed with antioxidants which help to boost the immune system and fight cancer.

Onion/garlic

These have detoxing properties and also help to fight off breast and colon cancer.

Carrots

This vegetable is loaded with vitamin A which helps to improve vision and skin tone.

Spinach

This vegetable is loaded with minerals and vitamins.

Turmeric

This has antioxidant properties which help to reduce inflammation and cancer.

Watermelon

This fruit is high in organic water without the high sugar content. It is also a good diuretic and helps to remove water from the body.

Plant-based milk

As we become older it becomes more difficult to digest lactose in cow's milk. Plant-based milk offers the perfect solution.

Guava

This fruit is loaded with vitamin C which boosts the immune system.

Honey

In addition to being a good sweetener, honey also contains minerals such as copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium and zinc.

In addition to incorporating super foods in your diet, it is also important to periodically do a detox programme. This will help to keep the bowel clean.

People over 40 usually experience a decrease in muscle size, strength and recovery time. In addition, bones may become increasingly more prone to injury. In addition, for men, testosterone levels also usually begin to decrease and this affects the body's ability to build quality muscles. In addition, joints often ache. All these conditions are usually associated with the ageing process. However, doing exercises is a good way of reducing the ageing process. It is always best at your age to work with a personal exercise trainer. However, in the absence of a trainer every effort should be made to make sure you warm up and you also do your stretches.

You could also start your exercise sessions with five minutes of light cardio to get warmed up. After this, 30 minutes of moderate intensity cardio can be done. Swimming and pool exercises are also good at this age. Good luck.

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com .

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