Women, approaching their 40s, often wonder why their bodies bloat and they suddenly gain weight despite their lifestyle remaining the same. It’s because their bodies change every decade, as do their nutritional needs.
It is imperative to tweak the eating habits and diets accordingly. Nutrition ist Ishi Khosla says, “What you ate as a 20 year-old, can’t be eaten at 40 regularly. The body will naturally throw up reactions you won’t like. In your 40s, you have to be very careful about what’s on your plate, more so of the portions, and you have to regulate the time of your meals. If it goes haywire, so will your weight.“ The need of the hour is to slow down and take things easy.
The main reason for unwarranted weight gain is because the body is entering the `premenopausal’ phase, where it is producing lesser estrogen than it should. Due to this loss, fat is metabolized differently in the body. “This hormonal imbalance causes belly fat gain, bloating, water retention, joint aches, nutritional deficiencies, mood swings and more hell for women,“ says Dhvani Shah, healing diets specialist.
For the unseemly mid-region flab, she recommends at least 10 minutes of belly exercises every day it stimulates hormone production. To curb weight gain, a swift switchover to more plant-based foods, pulses, whole grains, sprouts and dals is recommended. According to Khosla, “The influx of too many medicines at this age also changes the di gestive bile, which often leads to bloating. She suggests, “Eat functional foods like amla, aloe vera, tulsi, soya and turmeric.“
Simple cardio exercis es like brisk walking or jogging, light strength training and yoga would do a world of won ders.
Bone density alarms women the most in this age. We see more and more women experiencing knee and hip replacements.What one needs is more `bioavailable’ calcium (calcium which is digested to the fullest and is transported to the right places). Shah ex plains, “The body becomes a voracious calcium burner post 40. It begins to absorb less and use more calcium.“
Add green, leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, chick peas, tofu and yoghurt in your diet to get your bioavailable calcium. Remember, milk is not as bioavailable as you think, and calcium supplements are not readily absorbed by the body. Weight-bearing exercises such as jogging, walking, resistance training are great. Keeping track of daily activities by wearing a pedometer and tallying the number of steps taken, while adding resistance exercise, works well for working women.
Food sensitivities are fairly common in midlife. You suddenly find you are lactose or dairy-orwheat-intolerant. This is because your body is changing faster than you think. Midlife brings changes in digestion, fluctuations in ovarian hormones and sluggish intestines. “Figure out your food sensitivities and eat accordingly.Steer clear of highly-processed food, trans fats and preservatives,“ says Khosla. Make your kitchen your clinic and choose food combinations as per your needs. “Eat dinner by 7pm, drink herbal teas to smooth your digestive system and use plenty of digestives and hormone regulators like jeera, mint, lemon, ajwain, asafoetida, turmeric and pepper in your food,“ adds Shah.