New Delhi: The 40s are filled with vitality and stress in equal amounts. Health can either be at its best in one's 40s or it can be the start for many lifestyle diseases.
Work, family and financial stress together can compound health issues at this age, so it becomes even more necessary to stay healthier than ever before. Mid-life health issues if addressed early can lead to very healthy 50s, 60s and 70s. The most common health problems seen in this age group are high cholesterol levels, Pre-diabetes, Obesity, metabolic syndrome, Hypertension or high blood pressure. Along with this a lot of back pain and joint pain issues are also part in parcel of ageing says Abhilasha V, Senior Clinical Nutritionist - Cloudnine group of Hospitals. Also frequently seen are fertility issues and prostrate related issues, she adds.
The expert explains the precautions which can be taken, what food to have and what to avoid for men in their 40's.
What kind of nutrition do men need in their 40s?
Men need well balanced nutrition in their 40s, especially one that focusses on strength, stamina, and an antioxidant rich diet to slow down ageing. The main areas of nutrition to focus on are the heart health, reproductive health and also muscle health. Since the metabolism slows down every decade, extra care must be also taken to manage one's weight and physique well. A diet should primarily focus on inclusion of good protein, healthy fats, whole grains, adequate fiber, plenty of antioxidant rich veggies and fruit and also good fluid intake. In this, special focus can be placed on ensuring well structured meal times and balance in all meals for better health.
What precautions can be taken?
In addition to good nutrition, it is important to have adequate sleep, hydration, and regular physical exercise, good stress management, cutting down on caffeine and to quit smoking and drinking (or at least cutting it down drastically) Weight management can prevent many health disorders too. Focussing on regular complete health checks are important to prevent lifestyle diseases. Periodic health checks can ward off many problems and help address issues from compounding.
What foods to have?
Foods to consume should largely focus on good protein, whole grains, good fats, fibre and fluid.
Good protein: Protein from plant sources, lean meat, eggs, omega-3 rich fatty fish, nuts, low fat dairy can have lot of benefits in this age group. Care must be taken to consume 1gram per kg body weight of protein daily and not to overdo it.
Whole grains: Foods like oats, broken wheat, millets, red rice can give sustained energy to function throughout the day. They are good for heart health due to their Vitamin B complex content and also ensures good bowel health.
Good fats: Fats in the form of avocadoes, olives, cold-pressed oils, nuts and seeds all can have a protective effect on men's heart health.
Fibre: Fibre has an overall protective effect on BP, cholesterol and helps in weight management. Fibre in good amounts in a day keeps you full for longer thereby preventing cravings and binges. It prevents blood sugar from spiking and thereby prevents diabetes by preserving insulin function. Fibre also acts as prebiotics to improve gut function and gut flora. Fibre from fruits and vegetables in addition to adding roughage to diet can also add antioxidant benefits which can help in cancer-prevention. Foods for prostrate health that are beneficial are broccoli, cabbage, sprouts, cauliflower, green tea, cooked tomatoes, walnuts, berries and healthy fish rich in omega-3 etc. help maintain good prostrate function.
Fluids: Hydration becomes very important to maintain muscle function and good kidney function. 2.5 to 3 litres is recommended. For those bored of plain water- infused water, herbal teas, cold-pressed juices and natural thirst quenchers like lime juice and tender coconut a day will do wonders for overall health.
Food to avoid
Excessive caffeine can be avoided to prevent acidity and heartburn- all common in 40s.
Deep fried food, packaged foods can be limited due to their fattening and artery clogging properties.
Foods with high salt can be cut down to prevent BP from rising and also to protect kidneys.
Cutting back on alcohol can be quite beneficial to prevent liver disorders and to reduce inflammation in the body.