Foods to Help You Feel Revitalized in Your 40s and Beyond
In case anyone was wondering, it is NEVER too late to feel revitalized, energized, and motivated! Each decade brings on a new set of challenges, but with them come new opportunities to feel more connected and in control of your body. Your body, brains, and bliss are worth looking out for, and this is how you can realistically and sustainably make them a priority in your life.
It’s a waistline, not a waste line
“Paleo,” “Nordic,” “Volumetrics,” oh my! The diet trends are endless right now. It seems like each week brings a new gadget or system that is the surefire way to a J-Lo body in two weeks. By now, most people know that gimmicky diets are exactly that, but it’s hard to know what’s not a gimmick. This makes me wonder… When did food get so complicated?
Your guide to smart nutrition
With all of this conflicting nutrition information available, you need a nutrition guide that gives you the knowledge to make smart diet choices. Look no further than the second edition of Fitness After 40. I’ve included a completely overhauled chapter on nutrition talking extensively about how to fuel your body after 40 with expanded sections on:
- Macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fat, fluids)
- Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals)
- Nutritional supplements
- Anti-inflammatory diet strategies
- Weight loss
- Strategic eating
- Vegetarian and vegan diet tips
A personal note…
My nutrition journey started during my intern and resident years. I often worked 120 hectic and exhausting hours per week. I ate whatever I could, whenever I could sneak to the hospital cafeteria. Often this meant 2:00 A.M. “consolation” cheeseburgers!
Though I was very active running around the hospital at work and even ran a marathon in my free time, this diet and lifestyle weighed me down (literally, by over 20 pounds). When I finished my surgical training, I started eating healthier and running more. I finally began to feel revitalized and the weight fell off! Along with plenty of fresh veggies, I maximize my own nutrition by making these five simple choices every day:
- No fried foods. Ever!
- No salad dressings or sauces. Many dressings have 100 calories of fat… in one tablespoon.
- Limit juice. It is very high in sugar.
- Limit “good fats.” Even olive oil has 100 calories in a tablespoon.
- No sugar or simple carbs (unless I’m training for a race).
My sweet tooth used to hold me back on number five until one day I quit eating cookies, dark chocolate, and white pasta (some of my favorite things) altogether. Cold turkey! It was hard, but I persisted, and the benefits were amazing! I lost 11 pounds, which felt great, but the second benefit was even better. All of my aching went away. I repeat: All of my aching went away when I cut out added sugar and simple carbs. Sugar is known to cause weight gain, increase your risk of heart disease, has been linked to acne and skin aging, increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, increases cellular aging, and makes you crash. The trouble is, it’s everywhere! Want to feel revitalized? Sugar isn’t doing you any favors.
The anti-inflammatory diet
My new ache-free body was a result of following an anti-inflammatory diet, one of the major causes of aging. Our body needs some inflammation to maintain good health, but when inflammation occurs without cause, it becomes chronic. Chronic inflammation not only debilitates athletic ability but can also cause arthritis and allergies. In chapter 13, I provide a list of anti-inflammatory foods, including:
- Vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, kelp, leeks, olives, turnip greens, and sweet potatoes.
- Fruits: Apples (the skin especially), papayas, pineapples, grapefruit, guava, kiwis, limes, melons, and oranges.
- Herbs/spices: Turmeric, garlic, ginger, basil, black pepper, chives, cilantro, cinnamon, and parsley.
- Nuts/seeds: Almonds, flaxseed, hazelnuts, pecans, sesame/sunflower seeds, and walnuts.
- Vitamins: A, B6, D, E, and K.
For a complete look at the anti-inflammatory diet and a thoroughly detailed breakdown of nutrition after 40, check out chapter 13 of Fitness After 40, Second Edition!
If you truly want to feel revitalized, I’m sure you know it can’t happen overnight. It takes dedication to see and feel the results you want. Adding exercise to your daily routine is another way to do wonders for your mood and energy levels, even in the short run. Exercising just 20 minutes a day has noticeable effects to keep you going through your diet and new workout routine – it’s like a pre-ward!
To get even more health and wellness tips and learn more about my personal journey, you can read my book, follow me on twitter, instagram, and facebook or join our exclusive and empowering Women’s Health Conversations Facebook group!
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