How Important Is 'Good' Nutrition For The Over 40's

Ok so I'm writing this from the perspective of a nearly 33 year old ..

Ever heard the expression, 'you're only as old as you feel'. Well apart from a few niggles here and there I feel great, actually much better than I felt back in my 20's. I probably eat better too, well actually yes I do eat better, I know I do. Reason I'm writing this is that we have quite a few over 40's members and clients here at PNF studios. Our membership based is leaning more towards the female and aged between 35-45 years old. We still have  a lot of under 30's and even 20's, also quite a few 50 and 60 year olds. Fitness and health isn't second nature for them now and work on this weekly regardless of schedules.

So back to the important part .. good nutrition for the over 40's .. what it should be and why .. how important is it for us !? Well good nutrition is so important for everyone, babies children, teenagers, all the way up to those retired. But I'm focusing on the 40's, why, because they're at a signnifciant part in their life, you've probably been working for 20 years and now reaching 40 you will be working for another 20 years at least. Sorry but it had to be made clear, it may feel your half way their .. and that might be daunting. The reason is you have a lot of experience now with food and drink .. as a paying adult that is .. you may have learnt a lot about food and enjoy dinning in or eating out .. truth is some of us have still a lot to learn ..

The first reason is that you may have young kids, I'm talking between 8-10 years old .. still in primary school or just about to start secondary school. these delightful joyful children might be still quite fussy with food, you working and balancing a busy child social schedule is also quite a handful, and you haven't much time to exercise or get out and about as often. Young children after all need supervising. This is an important moment though, you and your children can learn what good nutrition is and what it can do for you all, you have more time together and with a little discipline I'm sure the healthier alternatives will be consumed by them .. even you. You want to inspire them to start early with a good level of exercise and activity, you need good nutrition to help support this. They might even be starting a sports club, again good nutrition, planning, these can be huge factors into how they perform and recovery. 

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When my kids were younger and I was juggling being a mum with work I liked to eat with them so we had easy fuss free family food. Now they are older I can please myself a bit more. Also now that I’am mid forties I am so much more aware of my body changing and the need to keep healthy. So my diet is probably much better than it was 10 years ago.
— Angela Dawson

The next reason is many of our bodily functions down regulate .. this doesn't refer to taking a pee every 5 minutes .. more to our immune and digestive systems. These two systems are crucial in good health and wellbeing. So we need to support these with good nutrition. Ever wondered why we can lose weight quicker in our 20's compared to our 40's, not only are we less active but our body is naturally slowing down to preserve life. Hormone regulation in over 40's reduces steadily and changes our bodies ability to use the energy that we take in. Things to think about reducing are alcohol intake, smoking, junk foods, consuming a lot of starchy carbohydrates, 

The last reason good nutrition is so important is that we now eat out more often than ever. The reasons are now that the kids are grown up. you don't cook so much food or prepare larger family meals. So making sure those meals we eat at home benefit are overall lifestyle or goal. These meals are high in nutrients but also calorie controlled, too our needs with activity levels and exercise levels. This can serious help when eating out a few times a week, as more often you are unaware of the calories within a dish and generally consuming alcohol can be on the list too. So setting our bodies up to consume good nutrients and monitor calories can benefit when we reach the 50's and 60's .. 

I have always cooked from scratch. Once I turned 40 and my children weren’t around so much, it was harder do this straight away. It can be quite hard to create smaller meals that are healthier. I also find I eat out a lot more, both socially and for convenience.
— Karen Hayward

We often find especially in women that their diet is often built around 'carbohydrates' mainly. Toast, Cereal or Porridge for breakfast .. Wrap, sandwich or jacket potato for lunch .. even pasta or a noodles dish for tea. At any age changing our ratio of foods can have a huge impact on our bodies. Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for our bodies and muscles, we store this in our muscles, fat however is stored around these and vital organs. If we are in our 40's, a woman, sedentary lifestyle, rarely cook, eat out often, no exercise .. then 'starchy' carbohydrates aren't required as much, especially if your diet is full on them on each meal, you just won't feel satisfied with your appetite. 

So here are my tips for those over 40's when looking to lead a better and healthier lifestyle, in terms of food choices and habits: 

  1. Get plenty of water in each day, water is essential, it'll look after you .. make your skin feel younger, hair appear healthier, support your vital organs and systems such as the immune and digestive system. Transports vitamins and minerals into the body. Will aid fat / weight loss and hydration is important for reducing headaches and migraines.
  2. Reduce 'starchy' carbohydrates such as potatoes, rice, bread, pastas .. replace with more vegetables and fruits. Don't be scared of the fructose content of fruits, unless your eating a lot of dried packed fruit such as raisins and apricots. Vegetables are lower in calories but pack full of nutrients, these nutrients can dictate how we feel, how are body changes, how we lose fat, our energy levels, our appetite. If you feel bloated after eating carbs then change your meals and have these carbs on an evening meal when we've drank lots of water throughout the day and had plenty of vitamins and minerals.
  3. Eat protein on each meal .. our bodies are breaking down and down regulating so keeping hold of our vital muscle tissue is important. This is what keeps our body together, moving, helps use feel energised. This is what we need to have a stronger ad toned figure. 
  4. Track your calories a little, use an app to help this such as myfitnesspal .. if you have a specific goal then you need to be specific to get it, be flexible yet monitor carefully. This allows us to enjoy the foods we love but stay within our calorie deficit. 
  5. Get some sleep .. now that the kids are older and you don't need to worry about homework being in the next day .. you can focus a bit more on your health and sleep patterns. Again the impact of good nutrition is amazing for a good nights sleep. Its been shown that Zinc and Magnesium are the best for aiding recovery and sleep. So grab some green veggies, spinach, fish, almonds and pulses next time your at the supermarket. Make a fish and mediaterrain traybake or a hearty soup with the beans and pulses. More importantly turn off phones 30 mins before bed, read a book, switch off the TV and social media ..
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So really good nutrition is vitally important for all age groups but when we reach our 40's we do have a great opportunity to change and improve this. We get back our 'adulthood', perhaps our independence, creativity, get back some time for ourselves.

If you have really wish for some great advice and information then we are starting our -- T30 Nutrition Club -- on the week commencing 11th September 2017. Check out our timetable or book through the app.

Pete