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Healthy for Life: What to Eat in Your 20s, 30s, 40s, and Beyond

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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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walk1174 wrote:

What about the 60's guys? We may be beyond 40, but not beyond wanting to be healthy and active!

3/6/2013 12:43:02 PM Report Abuse
mik1of31 wrote:

I agree with those of you attacking the age bias. I'm 47, about to be 48, and I've been post menopausal almost two years now. I anticipated a hard struggle with losing weight..but haven't really found one. Strange. But I would like to see BEYOND 40s nutrition information, too.

3/4/2013 12:27:22 PM Report Abuse
jsek4 wrote:

what about someone in late 70's

3/4/2013 10:51:29 AM Report Abuse
shumatebeth wrote:

I want to echo the others here: I just turned 50 and feel I'm only getting better; certainly not dead yet! I went through menopause naturally starting at 43 and have learned I have all kinds of weight and fitness challenges I didn't have before then. Not a very helpful article. Some of the 40s tips do mention this, but the 20s-40s are not the only ages interested in health and fitness!

2/28/2013 01:39:33 PM Report Abuse
mj9693 wrote:

What about the "BEYOND" tips??????? Apparently those of us in our 80's don't count at all? It also seems that Canadians don't exits either. We are interested in eating healthy.

2/28/2013 12:21:17 PM Report Abuse

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