As September 1 to 7 is celebrated as the National Nutrition Week, we have been bringing to you a series of nutrition-related articles. We had earlier written on your nutrition requirements in the 20s and 30s. Today, we are going to discuss your nutritional requirements in the 40s.
As men and women reach their 40s, the vitamins and mineral requirements remain unchanged. They should focus on making nutrient-dense food choices to pave the way for the next few decades.
The key nutrients required in your 40s are fibre, vitamin D, antioxidants and calcium.
1. Vitamin D
When you are reaching your 40s, the intake of vitamin D should be higher to help protect the age-related changes that start to kick in. Vitamin D deficiencies are common in the 40s which have been associated with diseases like multiple sclerosis, heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer and diabetes.
Vitamin D has a key role in calcium absorption of the body. Vitamin D aids in keeping your immune system strong, prevents loss of hearing and breast and colon cancer.
The best source of vitamin D is sunlight. Soak yourself in the early morning sun to help your body synthesize vitamin D. There are few foods rich in vitamin D like fish, fortified cereals, grains and dairy products.
The current recommendation of 600 IU (15 mcg) of daily vitamin D intake applies to men and women over 40 years old.
Our bones reach their maximum bone mass between 25 and 30. The mineral plays a role in maintaining bone health later in life too, which is required for other bodily functions like nerve and heart functioning, muscle contraction, and other biochemical reactions in the body.
Also as women approach menopause, the oestrogen, which plays a major role in maintaining bone health, starts declining which makes calcium consumption all the more important. Women aged 40 to 50 years old need 1,000 mg of calcium per day. Men aged 19 to 50 years old need 1,000 to 2,500 of calcium per day.
Include calcium-rich foods like dark leafy greens, sardines, broccoli, tofu, almonds, etc., to prevent the risk of osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and other such bone-related diseases.
When both the sexes reach their 40s, there is a higher risk of increased blood pressure due to arteries hardening and stiffening over the years. The metabolism also slows down. That's the reason fibre should be an important part of your daily diet to keep your metabolism running and lower the risk of blood pressure.
Swap refined grains with whole grains and also opt for dietary fibre present in fruits, vegetables, barley, oats, etc. It not only reduces bloating but keeps you full for a longer period of time and is known to decrease the risk of colon cancer and cholesterol.
According to the National Institute of Health's Food and Nutrition Board, men aged between 19 to 50 require 38 g of fibre per day. And women should have 25 g of fibre each day.
Antioxidants like vitamin E and vitamin C keep harmful free radicals at bay. These free radicals contribute to ageing and many chronic diseases including heart disease, loss of memory, vision problems and joint pain when you are in your peak 40s.
To help eliminate inflammation and the keep free radical damage under control, add a variety of antioxidant-rich foods like blueberries, dark cocoa, raspberries, acai berries, goji berries, artichokes, fresh herbs, carrots and leafy greens.
Apart from these nutrients also include other essential vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc in your diet.
Tips For Healthy Eating In Your 40s
- A man in his 40s requires 2,400 calories a day if he is following a sedentary lifestyle. And if he regularly engages in exercise, then he can consume up to 2,800 calories per day.
- A woman in her 40s requires 1,800 calories if she has a sedentary lifestyle. An active 40-year-old woman can have 2,200 calories per day.
- To lose weight in your 40s, lower your calorie intake by at least 500 calories a day.
- Include phytoestrogen foods like soy and cruciferous vegetables to keep those hormones balanced as you age.
- Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables that are red, purple/blue, green, brown and orange/yellow.
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