Life begin at 40, the BIG 40 many addresses the age 40 that way. It is surely a signficant age at 40, you would have identified who you are, have some experience of life compared to those below 40 and you would have identified who your friends are. At this age another life begins with some significant life changes e.g midlife crisis for men, and pre menopause, hormonal changes for women, wrinkles lines. This is a sign that you are aging. At this point it is important to consider and ponder on what you are eating on daily basis because it is key to age wisely. I have come up with 5Rs of healthy eating.
- Right food
- Right fluids
- Right amount
- Right time
- Right weight
Right food and Right drink
Right food is the food that is healthy, this food is full of all essential nutrients’ the body needs to healthy and work properly. It is not necessarily the food that just fill the gut, but, it is food that makes the whole body healthy. To have healthy bones, blood, internal organs, healthy skin, healthy hair and nail, healthy eyes it is important to eat the right food and drink. Right food is food with the following categories of nutrients’:
- Proteins, are large complex molecules that are essential for our bodies to function properly. They are called body builders, because they are required for structure, function, repair and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs, They build muscle mass and do most of the work in the cells. People who are into body building, take quite a large amounts of protein to build the muscles. Proteins are a source of energy and helps to fight diseases. This suggest that protein are essential for healthy aging, if you don’t eat enough protein, it affects the immune system, skin elasticity, lack of energy and muscle wasting. Proteins can be obtained from meat, fish, eggs, dairy products and for vegans proteins can be obtained from legumes, cereals and pulses.
- Carbohydrates, are the body main source of energy, and are the sugars, starches and fibres found in fruit, grain, vegetable and milk products. Carbohydrates helps the body to preserve muscles, if the body don’t get enough carbohydrates the body will start to break down the proteins in the muscles to change it into energy. Very common to people with diabetes and hence you notice muscle wasting. Carbohydrates especially from fibre based are good to aid smooth bowels’ movement and prevent constipation. Good carbohydrates are the best but refined carbohydrates e, g fizz drinks, sweets, sugars can cause issues with the healthy e.g blood glucose levels and heart problems
- Fats, are also source of energy and a major storage form of energy in the body. Fats insulate our bodies, protect vital organs, act as messengers helping proteins to do their job and also they are good for healthy nails and hair. Fats comes in different forms, saturated, mono saturated and polyunsaturated. Monosachurated and polyunsaturated fats are good for the heart, cholesterol and overall healthy, however saturated fats raise cholesterol. Healthy fat comes from fish, vegetables, nuts, seeds, olive oil and whereas bad fats are from artificial fats in processed food e.g doughnuts, whole fat milk, red meet, cheese. Coconut oil, palm oil.
- Dietary fibre; Are plant based carbohydrates and are not digested in the small intestines and therefore they reach the large intestines. Fibres helps to keep the gut system healthy and prevents constipation. Fibre can reduce cardiovascular disease due to beta glucan found in fibre which helps to reduce cholesterol, boost heart health and it also reduces risk of bowel cancer. Fibre comes from wholegrain cereal, wholegrain bread, oats, barley, fruits.g berries, pears, melon, oranges, vegetables, peas, sweetcorn, pulses, nuts, seeds, potatoes with skin.
- Minerals, are inorganic substances required by the body in small amount for different functions. Our bodies needs different amounts of minerals in the right amount, a lot of it or little of it will cause our bodies not function properly. The requirements differ from individual to individual based on age, sex, gender, physiological state, and state of healthy. Minerals are needed in formation of bones, teeth, they are vital part of body fluids and tissues. They are vital part of the enzymes’ system and nervous system. There are 5 major minerals in the body namely: magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, sodium. However, they are 13 essential minerals in the body e.g iron, zinc, iodine, fluoride, copper, selenium, manganese, chromium plus the 5 major minerals. Minerals are from food like cereal, dried fruit and vegetables, milk meat, dairy products,fruits and nuts.
- Vitamins, are organic compounds needed in small amount to sustain life. Vitamins help our body to stay healthy. Most of the vitamins’ that our bodies need cannot be produced by our bodies but can be obtained from the food that we eat. Vitamins can be obtained from vitamins supplements. Vitamins helps strong bones, boost immune system, helps in healing the body, e.g wounds, cold etc. There are 13 essential vitamins’: A, B, C, E, K and the B vitamins’, B1 thiamine, B2 riboflavin, B3 niacin, B5 pantothenic acid, B5 pyroxidine, B7 biotin, B9 folate, B12 cobalamin. Vitamins are from vegetables and fruits, fish, winter squash, nuts, avocados, etc Lack of certain vitamins’ cam make one feel lethargic and tired e.g B12.
- Water. It is vital for all forms of life. Our body is 60% water, brain and heart are 73% water, lungs 83% water, muscle and kidney 79%, skin is 64% water and bones are 31% water. It is important to drink water not sugary drinks, not fizz, not tea, but water. Not taking enough water causes dehydration, which then leads to poor skin tugor, urine infections, constipation, headaches, and long term dehydration is linked to some dementia. If you want to age wisely then keep your brains, heart, lungs, kidneys, bones, skin and other body parts hydrated, drink at least 1.5- 2 litres of water unless if you are on fluid restriction due to other healthy problems follow the physician advise.
Some people especially elderly, those who are underweight or with some certain health issues find it difficult to consume enough nutrients from diet and therefore many people above 40 years suffers from certain deficiency e.g vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Some are on prescribed supplements e.g calcium, iron, nutrition and etc. However over the counter supplements might be something to consider as an addition to the diet. In a review by Dickinson and MacKay (2014) Health habits and other characteristics of dietary supplement users , there is a positive link between healthy conscious people and the use of vitamins and nutrition supplements.
It is important to eat the right amount of food in order to age healthy. What makes people age wisely is eating the right amount of food and right food. However many people eat the right food but wrong amount and as a result they normally say I eat healthy and I don’t know why I am overweight or under weight. People do eat right food but worthy 4000 calories and sit all day and others eat right food worth 1000 calories and exercise daily, Both are will eventually end up having serious healthy issue and hence unwise aging. The recommended calories for people is variable based on gender and age. Women daily calories is 2000 and men calories is 2500. The recommended calories should in proportion to the right amount of the essential nutrients’.
Daily essential nutrients’ intake of the total calories.
Vegetable and fruits 33%
Dairy products 15%
Fats and sugars 7%
This suggests that it is not wise having 60% of the daily calories from fruit and vegetables, the daily intake of diet should be well-balanced diet.
Right time is very important because there are certain times you cannot eat certain food because they will be not beneficial to the body. It is not beneficial to eat the right food, right amount at the wrong time, e.g eating 2000 calories of food at 10 pm. The timing of eating is important because it affects our body clock rhythm that regulates all aspects of metabolism. Wrong eating timing can cause serious health problems like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity.
It is important to eat breakfast in the morning before the start of the day, followed by lunch and dinner should be 3 hours before going to bed. It is wise to eat something light for dinner because if you are not going to burn all the calories that you eat before going to bed, they will be stored as fat and hence cause obesity and cardiovascular disease. Most of this unused calories will be converted to fat and usually that is the fat that causes obesity. Heavy carbohydrates like rice, potatoes, etc should be avoided at night because they are high in carbohydrates hence lots of calories and difficult to burn at night especially when you are not doing anything. These types of carbohydrates are good to consume when going to gym or exercise. Meat should also avoided at night because it is difficult to digest. Salads, fruits, vegetable and nuts and light carbohydrates are best for dinner.
Right weight is the weight that is in good proportion with an individual height. The weight and height are calculated to give the body mass index (BMI) The BMI determines if an individual is underweight, overweight, obese or right weight. BMI is not effective for kids. Any BMI that is 18.5 and below is underweight and BMI of 18.5 -24.9 suggest you are healthy and BMI of 25 -29.9 is overweight whereas BMI of 30 is obese. Right weight is important because overweight or underweight have serious consequences for those over 40. It is wise to consider how to lose or gain weight. Obesity accelerate aging process by 2.7 years for every 10 point increase in BMI. Obesity is also associated with some diseases, like osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and also linked to less global Grey matter in the brain in later life, meaning you are more at risk of memory issues in old age( dementia ).
On the other hand underweight poses issues as well. Underweight increases the risk of bone fracture, weakened immunity exposing one to infections. Underweight people usually some vital vitamins’. Being underweight is associated with dementia.
Right weight is vital for healthy aging in preventing some dangerous illnesses in the old age.
Age wisely using the power of knowledge
To age healthy and wise, it is important to take note of the 5Rs of healthy aging, one should take the right food, take right fluids, consume right amount and the right time and maintain the right weight. Both gender should make sure they maintain their daily recommended calories to maintain a healthy weight. The daily calories should comprised of the right amount of nutrients and make sure these calories are consumed at the right time. Avoid eating heavy meals late at night just before you go to sleep. Lets maintain our BMI between 18.5 -21.9 and drink lots of water to age wisely. This is achievable by reminding ourselves, what we eat, drink, the amount and the time we consume this food has a positive or negative impact in our future health. Therefore it is important to make right choices now if you want to age healthy and wise.