We have a lot of misconceptions bout food, exercise, and fitness:
When we are young, we are eager to eat anything that qualifies as food, anytime, especially if it is tasty, aromatic, and filling. But as we age, our appetite should adjust to the slowing metabolism, or we are prone to developing disease and obesity. Here’s a 5-point primer on how to eat in an age-appropriate manner.
It’s time to build healthy habits. You have just stepped out of your childhood. You have cells and tissues that are in their prime, blood that flows freely through unclogged arteries. With your musculoskeletal machinery in mint condition, movement is not an issue at all. What you need to eat: First up, begin appreciating fibre-rich foods. Satiation after every meal is guaranteed, you will stay fuller longer. Food not moving in zip-zap-zoom speed across the tummy and guts will keep you safe from diabetes. No threat of constipation, your digestive tract will thank you. The other item that your body craves is vitamin D. Want strong bones and a strong heart? Eat at least three cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit daily. Need vitamin D, add a lot of milk, fish, tuna, salmon, cereals, oatmeal, soy, and soak in a healthy amount of sunlight. No binge eating, no yo-yo or any fad diets, “No food is entirely off-limits,” Brian St Pierre, RD, CSCS, of Precision Nutrition tells Men’s Health. “Instead, categorise each within a spectrum of choice to eat more of, eat some of, and eat less of,” St Pierre says.
At this age, your metabolism starts to slow and so increases your risk of weight gain and muscle loss. If you’re a parent already, you may find this comparison relatable. The energy with which you ran when in school or college, is not the same anymore when you run with your child. There is a certain deceleration that only you notice. You may pin it on busy career days and lack of gym time. Fact is, you have begun to scale down the peak energy era. A reminder that THIS is the time to start thinking about your risk of heart disease. Include Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet and if your doctor recommends, do take the supplements. Good food sources are salmon, mackerel, oysters, tuna, trout, and even some whitefish like pollock and perch —loaded with good fats that fortify your heart muscles. The Mediterranean diet contains at least two 4-ounce portions of fish weekly. make the simplest of dishes with lightly cooked fish laid over a bed of greens or a bowl of rice to make it a meal. The Men’s Health report warns against falling into the habit of binge-drinking, a problem lifestyle lapse at this moment in life. It cites a 2018 study published by BMJ that states that from 2009 to 2016, the average annual increase in deaths from cirrhosis was highest in people aged 25 to 34. Your liver is a sturdy yet delicate vital organ. It stays strong on good lifestyle practices but is vulnerable to alcohol abuse such as subjecting it to five drinks in two hours — how the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines a binge — making it susceptible to face severe irreversible damage.
You are no more as agile, lithe, swift as you were in your teens and in your twenties. In India, processed, refined foods have still not swept the daily staple, and unlike the west, colorectal cancer is not the concern here, as yet. Yet no one can understate the importance of antioxidants in the diet to ward off the free radicals that cause damage. Stress on a high-fibre diet rich in antioxidants. Add fruits to your breakfast bowl along with cottage cheese, oatmeal, or yoghurt. Seasonal and locally available fruits esp from the farmer’s market should augur well. Fetch some guavas, mangoes, and dragon fruits, guaranteed to give you that great taste you crave with loads of healthy fibre. Cooked, grated (or diced) beetroots, chopped asparagus, quartered artichoke hearts, or Brussels sprouts/chopped cabbage can be added to the dough you knead for the morning paranthas (Indian flatbread roasted on a flat tawa atop a flame). If you add it to the salads, these very items can be slightly cooked for easy digestion and decontamination. Don’t give up carbohydrates altogether, but go low on them. Excess calories from too many empty carbs may lead to weight gain, which can contribute to diabetes. Eliminate the good carbs from the curfew though. Dalia, wholegrain bread, French beans, sem-fali green beans, legumes are healthy carbs and recommended in hefty doses if you wish to fight cancer.
Women have their menopause to worry about, men have their midriff to focus on. The increasing girth makes most 50+ men uncomfortable. There is a paucity of everything – time, budget margins, energy. Yet this is the time to do the bloodwork diligently. Check for blood sugar levels, cholesterol in the blood, check blood pressure and ensure you are not a patient of hypertension. Possibly, your doctor has told you to cut back on sodium and has added statins to your regimen of pills which majorly had only vitamin supplements till now. Your risk of hypertension increases with every passing birthday. Fear not reassured Men’s Health. Research shows that you can still fight heart disease. Add potassium-rich foods to your diet for blunting the effects of sodium in your diet and, in turn, support healthy blood pressure, which is key for heart health. High on your green-grocery shopping list should be dark leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, beets, and lima beans. Shake off the addiction to processed food or meal orders. Toss away the salt shaker from the table and stop eating out of packaged snacks like chips, fries etc. Keep an eye open for obesity that can set in. And to eliminate work-related stress, adopt yoga, meditation, awe walks etc.
This is the time to take a good look back and realise how far ahead you have come in life and vigorously plan for times ahead. You need a workout routine that will help maintain the muscle you have and fight the flab. Plan your meals in a manner that you get sustained supplies of nutrients and proteins. Check with your doctor to know if your protein intake through food is satisfactory. Ask if you may take a scoop of whey protein powder along with your morning oatmeal. If you like grilled chicken or salmon, they make a good addition to a salad. Diversify your protein intake and add various forms of cooked meat from what is available at your local stores.