Entering your 40s is a significant milestone that comes with its own set of priorities, including maintaining good health and well-being. One of the key aspects of a healthy lifestyle is maintaining a nutritious diet. As we age, our bodies undergo changes, and it becomes even more crucial to make conscious choices about what we eat. As a busy mother who is running a household and a business, I have noticed some changes since turning 40. I started to notice lower energy, more soreness after workouts, hormonal food cravings, hair changes and mood changes. At first, I was concerned and then I took what my body was trying to tell me and made some changes in my nutrition. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of healthy eating in your 40s and provide practical tips to help you nourish your body and mind.
Focus on Nutrient-Dense Foods:
In your 40s, your body requires a well-balanced and nutrient-rich diet to support optimal health. Emphasize whole, unprocessed foods that are rich in essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats in your meals. These foods provide the necessary nutrients to support your immune system, maintain energy levels, and protect against age-related health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cognitive decline.
Prioritize Bone Health:
As we age, bone density naturally decreases, making us more susceptible to fractures and osteoporosis. To promote healthy bones in your 40s, ensure your diet includes calcium-rich foods like dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified foods. I have been following a plant-based diet for 17 years. Some of those years I have been vegan and some of those years I have included dairy and other lean proteins from animal sources. As a certified Holistic Nutritionist, I believe that the best diet is one without a label and one that is created from us listening to our body. We need to adjust as needed as we go through life! We don't need the same calories or food as we did when we were babies or toddlers or teenagers so why would we assume we need to eat the same way in our 40s as we did in our 20s or 30s?
When I entered into my 40s, I felt a shift internally and began to not feel that great on a 100% vegan diet. Being intuitive I knew it was time to make a change but it also was difficult because I had attached my identity for the last 7 years to "eating vegan". I knew however that my health was more important than anyone's opinion or even my own fear and stubbornness to resist change. Once I added in some quality protein like Greek yogurt and salmon, I felt a huge difference immediately and my energy increased! As women it is important to listen to our body and how it responds to foods and make sure that we are getting enough quality protein and fats. Your body may be able to thrive on a 100% vegan diet but if you have a soy allergy like I do, it might be harder. My advice is to continue to evolve your nutrition and listen to your body and choose whole food with an emphasis on plants. Additionally, vitamin D is crucial for calcium absorption, so spend time outdoors or consider a supplement if necessary. Regular weight-bearing exercises like walking or strength training also help strengthen bones and reduce the risk of fractures.
Mindful Eating and Portion Control:
In our fast-paced world, it's easy to fall into unhealthy eating habits. However, as you reach your 40s, it's important to be mindful of your food choices. Practice mindful eating by paying attention to your hunger and fullness cues, eating slowly, and savoring each bite. Avoid distractions while eating, such as television or electronic devices, as they can lead to overeating. Additionally, be mindful of portion sizes to maintain a healthy weight and prevent the risk of obesity-related diseases. I use a balanced macro + portion control nutrition program with my clients and I find that it helps so much because most women either under eat or over eat. Neither which are helpful for optimal health and long-term results! You want to understand your personal needs for your macros and make sure that you are using proper portions of protein, carbs and fats. This becomes very important in your 40s.
Hydration and Healthy Snacking:
Staying properly hydrated becomes increasingly important as you age. Aim to drink adequate amounts of water throughout the day to support digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall well-being. Additionally, healthy snacking plays a crucial role in maintaining energy levels and preventing overeating. Opt for nutrient-dense snacks like fresh fruits, raw nuts, yogurt, or vegetables with hummus. These options provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber while keeping unnecessary added sugars and unhealthy fats at bay.
Taking care of your health through proper nutrition is vital at any age, and your 40s are no exception. By adopting healthy eating habits, you can support your overall well-being, prevent age-related health issues, and promote longevity. Focus on nutrient-dense foods, prioritize bone health, practice mindful eating and portion control, stay hydrated, and choose healthy snacks. Remember, a well-nourished body not only improves physical health but also enhances mental clarity, mood, and vitality as you embrace this exciting stage of life. Focusing on optimal nutrition is so important and I love that as women we get to support ourselves with healthy food choices each day. Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect to be effective! Consistency in the nutrition habits outlined above can make your 40s the BEST YEARS YET!