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Healthy Living

Understanding your health in your golden years

by Nutritionist Meenakshi Bajaj

It’s important to understand that turning 50 doesn’t mean the end of anything; in fact, it can be the start of something new and beautiful. At this age you’ve worked hard for all you’ve achieved and you’ll need to realise that your body has also been with you through it all; the ups and downs throughout your journey. It could be time to sit back and take some time out to focus on yourself and your health; after all, if you’re healthy, it’s going to be much easier on your family.

To stay healthy when you hit the big ‘Five-Oh’, it’s important to know just what starts happening with your body so you can take the right steps to ensure your strength is intact.

Muscle Loss

In these, your ‘golden years’, your muscle mass tends to reduce a little due to the lack of physical exercise and an unbalanced diet.

Muscle-Loss

You’re going to have to increase your protein intake to help combat this. While the quantity of protein is important, the quality of protein you consume is equally vital to consider. Low fat milk, nuts, fish, and eggs are great sources of good quality protein. Even adding oats to your dosa batter will help increase your iron, protein, and fibre intake.

Slowed Digestion

When you reach 50, you may not have realised it, but your body would have undergone quite a few changes. It’s important to pay close attention to your body’s needs as getting the most out of your daily food intake will take a little extra effort now.

Slowed Digestion

So, to make sure you’re meeting your daily nutritional goal, it’s essential to adopt a healthy, well-balanced diet and get the most out of your meals. This is vital to keep your strength up and ensure that your body is well taken care of.

Common Nutrient Deficiencies

Deficiencies occur mostly because of slowed digestion. And each of your body’s processes are interlinked; each one affects the other.

Common-Nutrient-Deficiencies

On the other hand, once you enter your 50’s, there are certain medicines you may be required to take on a regular basis. Some of these meds can interfere with your Vitamin B12 absorption.

Impact on Bone Strength

Your strength won’t be the same as when you were in your forties. This is just natural progression and nature taking its course. Your calcium intake becomes lower and in some cases, your body is unable to process it from your regular food. Weak bones can fast become a problem as even a minor fall could prove to be an issue. Thus, more calcium is what you’re going to need.

As you age, the daily requirement for calcium increases and vitamin D becomes the need of the day to facilitate its absorption. For this, choose vegetables like Moringa leaves.

Moringa-leaves

Even a traditional Curd-Rice meal (Bagala bhath), with a dash of grapes and pomegranate, can be of great help.

Bagala-bhath

A healthy diet helps to maintain and improve overall health, but when you get older, you need to nurture your body a little more than before. On the other hand, maintaining a healthy diet plan doesn’t mean compromising on tastes or giving up your favourite dishes. It’s about enjoying every meal and eating proportionately with a few adjustments.

Vitamins and minerals – these are needed by your cells to function properly and maintain good health. They may not often come from your daily diet and it’s time to change that. Aside from your body being unable to absorb vitamins and minerals post 50, various factors like your method of cooking, can also affect their intake. You’ll need to pay closer attention to your diet and ensure that your daily meals are more nutritious, going forward.

Start eating more green veggies - Kadamba sambhar is a nutrient dense dish and is ideal to start your day with.

Kadamba-sambhar

Due to the impact of ageing on nutrient retention, your diet may be unable to deliver all the nutrients you need through the day. Since your body can’t process and get the most out of complex foods anymore, you’ll need to fill in the gaps for your required nutrient intake with supplements, if and when required. This will help compensate for what you may be missing from your regular diet.

So changing the way you think about your diet is the first step towards feeding your body right. It’s never too late to start, and start you must! Small changes lead to big transformations.

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