Touching the age of 40 is an important milestone in a person’s life in terms of health. It is a time when the machinery of the body is prone to a lot of risk and so it is the perfect time to address the issues before they get worse.
It is the pressing time when you are more committed towards honoring your responsibilities towards family, parents and children. As a result, often, you end up neglecting your health. Thus, regardless of demanding jobs, growing children or aging parents, 40 is the time to take charge of your health for better well-being in the long-run.
So, what is it about 40 that should make you alert about your health?
Before 40, your body can take on the assault of irregular food habits, poor sleep hygiene, substance abuse and more. All these deprive the body of its daily quotient of healthy intake of nutrients that keep the body alert and functioning properly. In your younger days of 20's, the body can cope up with the wear and tear and the constant onslaught.
However, at 40, the body is unable to cope up with the constant wear and tear. The risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes becomes a concern. An unhealthy lifestyle will cause one’s cholesterol levels and blood pressure to rise.
Hence, the need to take charge from your 40th birthday is so important. Well, if you are already 40 and haven’t started yet, then it is better late than never.
THE CHANGES IN THE BODY @40
The body is subjected to the following changes after 40:
As you age, your metabolism tends to decelerate by about 5% every decade after 40. If you're still following the diet that worked for you during your 20s and 30s, you're headed for trouble. More so this fat deposition will be on the belly. Problems with digestion are also relatively common with age. Constipation, heartburn, diverticular disease, and flatulence to name a few.
Both men and women produce fewer hormones once they hit 40. Estrogen - the hormone that controls a woman’s monthly cycle - begins to drop. This can cause weight gain.
For men, levels of testosterone drop the older you get. This can develop some unwanted changes such as weight gain (especially around the abs). Then, there is trouble gaining and keeping muscle mass, depressed mood and erectile dysfunction.
This is a change you can’t really see - but it’s there. Bone loss begins in your 30s and by the time you’re 35 your body is breaking down bone faster than it can be replaced. You’ll also see a reduction in muscle tone, which can have a negative effect on your strength and balance.
Getting older has its perks. Chances are you’re more confident, have more direction and a defined sense of self. But while your health may not yet be a major concern, it’s important to take steps now and stop the subtle changes before they become major health issues.
HOW TO KEEP ROCKING AT 40
Here are some small lifestyle tips to follow today that will keep you healthy and happy for decades to come:
Eat healthy foods
- Swap refined carbohydrates with whole grain food. Breads, pastas should be avoided and millets, oats should be consumed because they boost the metabolism.
- Eat whole fruit instead of juice. As digestion slows down, eating the whole fruit aids in roughage. Whole fruits are rich in fibre. Watermelon and berries are rich in antioxidants. They should be consumed more for wrinkle-free skin.
- Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is an antioxidant and has been known to keep the artery walls clean, thus minimizing the risk of blockage and build-up. It is good for prostate too.
- Turmeric is a good anti-inflammatory agent. Turmeric intake should be increased as it can to some extent prevent cancers, heart diseases and as well as Alzheimer’s. Ginger and garlic should be consumed regularly.
- Eat low fat dairy product since you need calcium. Bone loss is common in females and leads to osteoporosis. So, one should increase intake of calcium through food products.
- Cut down on salts because it can lead to high blood pressure. Avoid canned soups, pickles, papads, French-fries etc. Excess salt leads to bone loss as well.
- To speed up your metabolism get plenty of sleep (at least seven hours a night) and eat plenty of metabolism-boosting foods. These include spices, hot peppers, whole grains, broccoli, soups, citrus fruits, and green tea.
- Eat ghee instead of butter and oils. Ghee is free from trans fats unlike most of the oils. Ghee has high smoke point. Hence, it can be used for high temperature cooking.
- Increase intake of fruits rich in Vitamin C. All citrus fruits, for that matter—has a bonus heart-healthy benefit. Citrus is loaded with a chemical called hesperidin, which many experts say helps improve blood flow.
- Cut down on alcohol or drink in moderation.
Along with dietary changes one should also….
Any form of physical activity is necessary along with the cutting calories to keep those extra kilos away.
Yoga is good way to remain flexible. Body becomes stiff with growing age and there is loss of muscle mass. That’s why it becomes important to add little weights to the regime. People can run marathons at 80 years of age as well. By just incorporating some fitness schedule to lifestyle can make this possible.
Body needs to be hydrated well. Drink at least 8 -10 glasses of water.
Cut down on empty calories due to aerated drinks, Caffeine also causes dehydration and wrinkled skin. So, should cut down on coffee and tea. Add cinnamon to your tea and coffee and it will help you to cut down on calories.
Learn another language
Sounds funny? But yes! At this age, make your mind do something different again. It is to keep it active and stay away from diseases like Alzheimer’s.
This is the time to slow down a bit and reflect upon yourself. With increasing day to day stress in life personal and professional meditation will be a good idea to destress yourself.
Inspite of all the precautions you take, some untoward event can occur in the body. Blame it on the genes. To avoid something like this, visit a physician once in a year and keep your health records maintained. Get your cholesterol and blood sugar checked regularly.
We can’t slow down the ageing process. However, if we take proper care of our health and develop the right attitude, we can feel younger and lead a more energetic and active life.
So, “Hello 40s, Life begins afresh again!”
Have a nutritional diet, exercise regularly, drink plenty of water, meditate and get precautionary annual check-ups done.
Yes, few changes occur after 40 such as slower metabolism, hormonal imbalance, and bone loss.
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk products, proteins (lentils, beans) and Spices or herbs (turmeric, ginger, garlic).