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Staying healthy after 40

brunch Updated: Jun 22, 2013 17:34 IST
Shikha Sharma
Shikha Sharma
Hindustan Times
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They say life begins at this age. Let yours be the healthiest you’ll ever have With time, the unexercised muscles of your body begin to degenerate. This mostly happens because of a sedentary lifestyle.

Muscle degeneration, in turn, leads to an overall collapse of your bone structure. So if you are experiencing backaches, joint pain and other back problems, it is a sign of a weakened skeletal system. The only way to avoid this is by eating right and exercising. The ideal combination of exercises is cardio, flexibility and strength training.

Eat right

Once you’re over 40, your body goes through many changes. Your body might start to show signs of deficiency of vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12, folic acid, calcium, iron and antioxidants.

By this time, your liver, bones and muscles take the most beating. The liver cleans the body of toxins, so when the liver becomes full of toxins, its own function begins to get compromised. The result is low metabolism, weight gain, water retention, hormonal problems and skin problems.

Over 40? Manage stress

Manage stress via exercising, meditation, listening to music, or taking up other relaxing hobbies. These activities relax the mind to make it calm and focused. We all know that the mind is very fickle, and manufactures thoughts every few seconds which stem from desires. And unfulfilled desires lead to stress, anger and frustration.

You can make your mind less cluttered by practicing meditation. It makes the mind more focused. And as the mind relaxes, so does your body. A feeling of relaxation releases happy hormones, that has a positive impact on the entire body.

The period after one turns 40 is the best time to plan and apply healthy habits in one’s daily routine so that you can live a longer, youthful and energetic life, and ensure that your body ages healthily.

Choose these foods:

A diet rich in antioxidants. Choose foods like spirulina, green tea and vegetable juices like spinach, tomato, bottle gourd, beetroot and cucumber.

Salads: Eat at least one bowl every day. Salads contain vital enzymes that help the body digest cooked food. Eat lettuce leaves, rocket leaves, sun-dried tomatoes, blanched broccoli, boiled peas and asparagus. Salads are also a good source of calcium.

Consume oils rich in natural omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Eat almonds, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, peanuts, walnuts and pine nuts. Incidentally, all nuts and oilseeds are naturally cholesterol free.

Cereals: Eat natural, unrefined forms of cereal like broken wheat, brown rice poha, natural oats and ragi.

Fruits: These can be a good source of vitamins like pineapple, apple, cherries and berries (essential for the wellbeing of the kidneys), melons (keeps the blood healthy), plums, grapes, guavas, mangoes, apricots, etc.

(This concludes the series)

From HT Brunch, June 23

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