Definition Balanced Diet: Why is it important over 40?
According to Segen’s Medical Dictionary a balanced diet is a diet containing proportionate amounts of those food groups which are optimal for good health.
Why a Balanced Diet is important over the age of 40 comes down to how well you want it to function for playing sports with your kids, how much fatigue sets in on simple tasks or how well you recover from illness. If you want your body to maximize performance, you will need to give it the right nutrients.
1. What Foods to Eat
A Balanced Diet over 40 will include a variety of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, beans, nuts & a variety of lean proteins. Be careful about the type of fruit and produce you pick while non-organic options can have more pesticides than organic options. Also, it doesn’t matter if it frozen or canned if there’s no added sugar or artificial ingredients. Eat as much seasonal produce as much as possible. No wonder certain foods can be a favorite for the seasons! This dates back hundreds of years according to foods that are best for you when the season change.
Here are some examples of the types of Food to Eat daily:
- Greens such as spinach, kale, green beans, broccoli
- Whole Wheat
- Whole Oats
- Brown Rice
Quinoa: While it’s not technically a grain (seed), it is packed with more protein than any other grain along with plenty of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
- Pork Loin
Please be careful on the types of oils that you use. While some oils may seem like they are healthy do you research to make the best choice.
Here are my choices for the best oils to use:
- Coconut oil (organic)
- Olive Oil (get the best quality that you can afford)
- Butter (grass fed preferably organic) I would rather you use real butter than all the other options out there.
- Grapeseed oil (organic)
2. Energy Levels
To maintain proper levers of energy your diet needs to meet certain calorie needs based on age and level of activity. According to the USDA the average man or woman that are active over the age of 30 should consume between 2,000 to 3,000 calories. If you are more sedentary, 1,600 to 2,400 calories. How you follow this make the difference if you are losing weight or gaining weight. You can use apps like My Fitness pal to help with keeping up with your macros. Think about the times of day that you eat certain foods. While eating a good breakfast can get your day started, think
about eating a balanced lunch such as going for a salad with a lean protein instead of pasta. That way you can come back from you lunch ready to tackle the remainder of your day.
3. Women vs Men over 40
The one thing that we are certain of over the age of 40 is our metabolism has begun to decline for about 10 years now. So, maintaining a balance diet is significantly important compared to who we were 20 years ago.
- It is advised to eat less but more frequently due to the metabolic rate slowing down.
- Slow down on the amount of coffee you intake. If you do opt-in for coffee choose the less sugary option.
- If you start to experience water retention, try drinking more water. By drinking more water, you enable the body to flush away the toxins and the excess water will not be retained.
- Count your Calories. It goes something like this: Slower metabolism with less activity without counting calories equals weight gain. It’s crucial to make sure that you are not consuming more calories than you’re burning. So, if you want to lose, maintain or gain weight, start counting those calories.
- Up your Protein Intake. Also known as Sarcopenia it occurs because of Aging. After 35 you will lose between .5-1% of you muscle mass annually unless you engage in regular physical activity to prevent it. So, think about this the next time you sit down for your next meal. Aim for 25-30 grams of lean protein for each meal.
The most common thread between women and men over 40 is activity. Look at your schedule and make sure that you add some physical activity to your day. Whether it’s walking, running, lifting weights being active is important for your balanced diet. A great way to do this is include walking on your breaks, lunches and after dinner in the evening. If you run a busy schedule and need reminders, there are several apps on the market to help you achieve these goals.
4. What Happens When You Don’t Eat a Balance Diet
Your body needs balance, and this comes from the proper amounts of nutrients. If you don’t eat a balanced diet you could develop a variety of health problems. Once of the most common health related issues is malnutrition. Symptoms of malnutrition include dizziness, fatigue and weight loss. Severe cases can have symptoms such as hair loss, fainting and lack of menstruation. Not to mention how it effects the immune system. A weak immune system makes you more susceptible to the flu and common cold. This can also lead to disease in the body from a lack of proper nutrients. For example, a diet high in processed sugars and carbs can lead to diabetes.
In short, start making informed decisions when it comes to balancing your life. If you decide to eat a burger for lunch, go for a dinner that has a leaner choice of protein like chicken with lots of veggies to go along. Another key to the balancing your diet over 40 is choosing foods that are nutritionally dense. With the high amounts of essential nutrients, you will fill up longer for sustainable energy all day. Try to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. If this doesn’t work for you try smaller meals. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Remember that we may be getting older, but we are living some of the best days of our life. Let stay balanced in our diets and lifestyle with healthier food options for mind, body & soul.
To a Better Version of You,