For most of your life, your health has been on so-called cruise control, everything in your body runs smoothly and automatically. You do not have to worry about the type of foods you eat or the amount of time you spend at your desk. Your weight remains quite stable. But once you reach your forties, you might notice the foods you've eaten before, now have a dramatic effect on your waistline. Studies suggest that the metabolism begins to decline at the age of 30 and incrementally decrease each decade after that. Therefore, if you continue eating as if you are in your 20's, you can end up accumulating unwanted weight, which in the long haul can lead to serious health problems. To help you enjoy good health longer, well past your 40's, follow these three important diet tips.
1. Be mindful of calories
To maintain a healthy weight, the calories you consume must be equivalent to the calories you burn. To lose weight, calories you take in must be less than the amount you burn. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of how you consume and burn calories. Your metabolism will burn calories throughout the day, even during rest, to properly run multiple crucial processes in your body. But it only does limited work. To stick within your calorie budget 1) eat smaller meals or drink diet shakes like Almased as a meal replacement, 2) exercise and be active regularly, and 3) avoid consuming empty calories. Empty calories are foods that contain solid fats and/or added sugars that give little to no nutrition. Most foods that contain empty calories are processed foods, including cookies, cakes, donuts, sodas, pizza, and sausages. A small amount is usually okay, but most people consume way more than beneficial - upsetting the calorie in and calorie out balance. Therefore, it is best to avoid eating empty calories 80% or more of the time.
2. Understand the importance of superfoods
It was Hippocrates who said "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food", meaning food can repair and treat many illnesses as well as boost your immune system, preventing many diseases from occurring. The foods he refers to are the ones loaded with essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Deficiency in any of these can lead to a whole host of health problems. As a result, pack your diet with a variety of bright, colorful fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds. Eating more plant-based foods will provide you with a healthy dose of beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and selenium, all of which are optimal for good health and a youthful appearance.
3. Watch what you drink
Keep in mind that the main focus of a diet is on overall calories - not just the calories coming from foods, but also in the liquids we drink. Beverages like sodas, juices, alcohol or cocktails and coffee can make us go overboard with calories. Plus, like stated before, many beverages contain empty calories and provide no nutrient benefits. Consequently, drink water, unsweetened tea or veggie broth as much as possible. Avoid sodas and juices with artificial flavors and added sugars. Limit alcohol to no more than one glass per day for women and two glasses per day for men. If you are a coffee drinker, swap creamer, whole milk and sugar for skim milk and natural sweeteners, such as stevia. Lastly, make sure to stay hydrated, which will aid your body's system, help the metabolism run better and improve the appearance of your skin. Drink half of your body weight in ounces daily.
By keeping these three important tips in mind, you'll not only manage your health better but also your stress and attitude. Concentrate on eating and drinking healthy and your weight will follow.
By: Jamie Luu, RDN, LDN
Edited By: Almased Nutrition Team