Healthy for Life: What to Eat in Your 20s, 30s, 40s, and Beyond
Nutrition in Your 30s
Remember when you had time at least occasionally to indulge in a manicure? Now, not so much. You're too swamped juggling the demands of kids and career -- and most likely eating on the run. To conquer your biggest diet dilemmas:
Order a Happy Meal -- for you. Yes, really. For 500 calories (compared to 790 for a Quarter Pounder and medium fries) you can get a cheeseburger, Apple Dippers, and 1 percent milk or apple juice in a jiffy and drive away hundreds of calories lighter.
Put your health first. "In your 30s you start to see signs of an unhealthy lifestyle, such as diabetes or hypertension," says James O. Hill, PhD, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado. Dropping 10 percent of your weight can slash your risk of these diseases.Key Nutrients You Need Now
Folate: It's critical for supporting a healthy pregnancy, preventing neural-tube defects and helping your body make new cells. Folate may also help reduce the risk of heart disease. Eat foods such as chickpeas, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, avocados, orange juice, and fortified whole grains to help meet your daily 400-microgram requirement.
Phytonutrients: "These compounds contain antioxidants, which slow the aging process, ward off heart disease, and prevent changes in DNA, potentially preventing the development of cancer," says Bonci. While phytonutrients come from plants, dark chocolate, red wine, and coffee are highest in them.
Iron: Not enough leaves you physically drained and messes with your mental muscle. Researchers at Penn State University found that young women who were deficient in the mineral took longer and performed worse on cognitive tasks than those who had normal levels of iron. Get your daily dose of 18 milligrams from foods such as clams, lean beef, fortified breakfast cereal, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, and skinless poultry.
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