Turning 40 can be quite an ordeal, both emotionally and physically. You might have noticed you are starting to gain weight and you have started paying attention to your body more. Sliding into midlife is a milestone that shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially when it pertains to what you eat.
When you are in your early 20’s and 30’s, most people are able to live on the edge and regularly indulge in unhealthy processed food. Fast food joints are somewhat of a daily habit and your body stays about the same weight without even thinking about it. Most of us never imagine that midlife is going to be literally knocking at our door until it happens. Before we know it, we turn 40 and realize that putting on some extra weight isn’t our only problem. Some of us not only start gaining excess weight but also start understanding the risks associated with entering midlife and leading an unhealthy lifestyle.
You might already know that the benefits of eating right can lead to a long, happy life, but you also need to know about the risks that are associated with dining now as you did in your 20’s. Understanding why your metabolism slows down in midlife is essential and now you need to learn what you need to eat to keep it working like a clock.
The simple answer is – watch what you eat.
In the middle part of your life the secretion of growth hormone (GH) declines by about 15% each decade. Less growth hormone means you are left with less muscle mass, and this can slowly lead to more fat. This extra stored fat can lead to several chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and any other silent killers. Whether you are just trying to lose weight or trying to fight off chronic disease during this period of your life, here are some foods we suggest you should consume to start your health journey into midlife.
Why eat oats?
Not only are oats one of the healthiest grains on earth, but they also have a plethora of nutritious benefits. Many over 40’s studies have shown that we can decrease the risk of chronic heart disease, lower blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol by consuming oats. If this wasn’t reason enough to start introducing oats to your daily diet, then here is one more. Oats can also keep you feeling fuller longer, thus help you control your weight.
How to eat oats?
There are many ways you can enjoy your oats and make it easier to introduce it into your daily diet. While it is important to skip instant oats, you can decide to cook slow cooking oats in a pot or just baked them in the oven. Cooking them in advance and reheating seems to be the most convenient way to always have ready to eat oats on hand and you can let your imagination run wild with the number of healthy goodies you can add in. Try adding some chopped nuts or an array of healthy fruits. Add a teaspoon of granola for that tasty crunch or sprinkle on some nutmeg or cinnamon for that extra touch. You can also get creative and make oatmeal muffins, which are a convenient and nutritious breakfast that the entire family can enjoy.
Why eat fish?
Consuming fish on a regular basis can do a lot for your overall health; as it is one of the healthiest sources of animal protein we have available today. Fish are loaded with nutritious omega-3 fatty acids that help in the reduction of inflammation, increasing your brain health, and most importantly, reducing the risk of heart disease. Increasing this source of protein in your diet can reduce the chances that linger over the horizon of midlife. As an excellent source of vitamin D, fish consumption can also be a great way to boost your immunity. Healthy levels of Vitamin D are important for the immune system and can help lower your risk of developing diseases such as skin cancer. It’s important to be selective in the type of fish you eat as some fish populations are contaminated from their environment. We recommend always checking for an up-to-date list as this can change frequently. Some of our current favorites are Albacore Tuna, Atlantic Mackeral, Freshwater Coho Salmon, Pacific wild-caught Sardines, wild-caught Alaskan Salmon and Oysters.
How to eat fish?
There are a sea of fish out there and many ways to prepare them. If you are an adventurous fish eater and have no problems eating them whole, then use your knife to open the belly and remove the backbone to prepare your taste buds for ultimate pleasure. If you are not ready to waste your time de-boning the fish, then try eating fish fillets and steaks. There are a lot of options out there, and you can find what works best for you. If you would like to introduce fish to your diet and don’t see yourself preparing this type of meal, take a trip to your favorite seafood restaurant and have it prepared without the butter. And better yet, if you are a five-star chef in the kitchen, get creative and add fish to spaghetti, a plate of veggies, or pair it with a salad and a plethora of fun sauces.
Why eat nuts?
Plain and simple, nuts are an excellent source of healthy nutrients needed to maintain good health. Nuts are packed with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which will decrease the overall risks of any silent killers. They are beneficial in reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. If this were the only reason to consume nuts, then I would say, forget about it. But they are loaded with antioxidants that protect your fragile fat cells and decrease their oxidation. The best part of all is they can play a significant role in weight loss, which can be an issue for many people in their midlife.
How to eat nuts?
You have likely eaten a nut or two in your lifetime and know how to spot them when you see them. But in their natural habitat, kernels are covered with a hard outer shell that takes some work to crack open. This might be a fun way to consume nuts, but some of you don’t like to work for your food and can purchase de-shelled nuts that are ready to be eaten. Nuts are seed kernels that are consumed as a snack that you can take with you on a trip, to work, or added to your favorite salad. But you must be careful when consuming nuts. They are high in fat and calories, so you need to be attentive not to over-consume them.
Why eat tomatoes?
For those of us entering midlife, fruit and vegetable intake is a vital part of the healthy living journey. Tomatoes are no exception, and anyone can benefit from this intensively nutritional plant food that is a perfect answer to fight off many chronic diseases. Tomatoes are tasty and can help decrease the development of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. They are known to maintain healthy blood pressure while supporting vibrant skin, weight loss, and best of all, heart health. According to science consuming just 150ml of tomato juice after an exercise session can help protect against other diseases such as prostate, lung, and stomach cancer. Tomatoes are packed with minerals, vitamins and the potent antioxidant lycopene. Antioxidants cleanup inflammation that cause oxidative stress and reduce potential DNA damage. If this wasn’t enough to convince you to chop up some tomatoes, then read the study on tomato juice and the reduction of cortisol and fatigue. Drinking tomato juice can actually reduce muscle fatigue and cortisol in our blood levels while we exercise.
How to eat tomatoes?
Some of you might enjoy a whole tomato with your meal while others prefer to chop it up in a favorite salad. Whatever your choice will be you can also find it in your favorite Italian cuisine. If the texture isn’t what you are looking for, then look for it in the form of juice, puree or sauce. Consuming tomatoes stewed or slow-cooked boosts the availability of its crucial nutrients. If you have a knack for the kitchen, then you can get creative and eat tomatoes stuffed with your favorite dairy product or throw them on the grill and enjoy their savory flavor at your BBQ. Whatever your taste buds prefer, get creative, and enjoy the many health benefits of this super fruit.
Why eat fruit?
Eating fruit is not only tasty but can also boost your immune system. A strong immune system is important for fighting off potential diseases and illnesses that we can develop or pick up during our lifetime. Fruits can enrich your body with a wide range of minerals and other essential vitamins that keep our immune systems working like a clock. Eating the right fruits can help you fight off nasty colds and other ailments that we have a hard time getting over when our immune systems are failing. Fruit not only provides you with energy but also rids your body of unwanted toxins with its high fiber content. Fruit is filled with water, which keeps you regular, allows your skin to maintain hydration and helps you achieve the glowing skin you deserve. Choosing fruit with a low sugar content is important. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and acai are among some of our favorite fruits.
How to eat fruit?
There are a million ways to cut up your favorite fruit and enjoy them just the way you like. Some of us want to savor the moment and bite down on a whole nectarine the old-fashioned way without cutting it up into smaller pieces. Others like to blend frozen fruit into a healthy smoothie. You can cut up a plethora of fruit and make your favorite fruit salad or get creative and blend fruit into a puree, pour into molds and freeze for a frozen popsicle treat. Whatever works for you is what will be the most enjoyable.
Keep up with your journey to excellent health and try to create habits that directly affect your health and well-being in the most positive way. Try to include regular visits to your physician or healthcare professional to prevent any illnesses or diseases that can be cured at the core. Prevention is your best friend, especially at midlife, and eating right will only help you achieve that healthy lifestyle.
Why eat cilantro?
Cilantro is the same plant as coriander, but cilantro refers to the leafy green part of the plant. (We use the term coriander for the seed). People around the world love this popular herb because of its citrusy boost of flavor, but besides its bright and fresh taste, it’s packed with benefits for the body. Cilantro has many critical nutrients as well as a high concentration of antioxidants, which protect against degenerative diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. Cilantro is believed to bind to heavy metals and help your body get rid of them. It will also protect your heart and balance blood sugar levels. As if that’s not enough, if you’re missing your carrots, you can find vitamin A in cilantro to boost the health of your eyes and skin. If you suffer from heartburn, especially after hot and spicy dishes, add some cilantro to the dish. Cilantro has a cooling effect, and it will allow you to tolerate that hot curry better.
How to eat cilantro?
All parts of the coriander plant hold some health benefits! But coriander and cilantro are used differently in cooking and are not interchangeable, so take that into account. For example, fresh cilantro, because it’s so refreshing, works excellent in salsas, sauces, soups, and chutneys. On the other hand, coriander has a warm, nutty taste that will elevate stews and curries. You can add coriander powder at any time, but if you’re using cilantro, add it at the end of cooking to preserve the flavor and its nutrients. Cilantro is a gentle herb, like mint and basil, with tender leaves that won’t tolerate over-chopping or cutting with a dull knife. Cut its leaves gently with a sharp knife so that the flavor stays within the leaves instead of being displaced onto the cutting board. You can add it to Mexican od Thai dishes, or any dishes with cheese, eggs, fish, or beans, as well as a garnish for soups and salads. If you ever get bored of it in a meal, enjoy it in a smoothie!
Why eat chia seeds?
The tiny black or white seeds of the Salvia Hispanica plant have lately been recognized worldwide as a superfood. They come from Central and South America, and legend says that the ancient Aztecs and Mayans used them as a source of energy. That wouldn’t be a surprise, because the tiny seeds are packed with nutrients: they contain fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and all nine essential amino acids. They are great antioxidants as well. Chia seeds can absorb large amounts of water, so because they expand in the stomach, they increase fullness and aid in weight loss. Some of the reasons why you should incorporate chia seeds into your diet in midlife is that they contain nutrients essential for bone health, such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Some studies also indicate that chia seeds can control blood sugar, which is great for diabetics, but their benefits don’t stop there: they keep the gut flora fed and healthy, reduce the risk of heart disease, and overall support increased energy in people consuming them regularly.
How to eat chia seeds?
It is super easy to include chia seeds in your diet! They don’t have much of a taste themselves, so you can add them to virtually anything. Adding chia seeds to any meal won’t affect the taste, but you’ll be blessed with all the crucial nutrients. The instagrammable solution is to sprinkle them on top of yogurt or granola bowls or to make a chia pudding. Mix a quarter-cup of the seeds in one cup of liquid – water, milk, almond milk, or fruit juice. Leave in the fridge for 15 minutes until the seeds have gelled up. You can add fruits or nuts to this pudding and keep it in the fridge for several days. Chia gel can be used instead of eggs in vegan cooking and baking, and you can also use them to thicken sauces. Baking something? Feel free to add chia seeds to your bread and muffins!