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

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Nutrition in Your 40s

"This is when women start to find some time for themselves again," says Hill. "They're really anxious to improve their health and fitness." To conquer your biggest diet dilemmas:

Beat your belly bulge. If your belly seems a little rounder, blame it on estrogen withdrawal. "In her childbearing years, a woman puts on weight in her butt, hips, and thighs to fuel breastfeeding," says FITNESS advisory board member Pamela Peeke, MD, author of Fit to Live. "The fat cells in those areas have estrogen receptors. As you go through estrogen withdrawal, those receptors aren't being activated anymore." That signals your body to sock away the fat in your tummy. Dr. Peeke's solution: cardio five days a week and resistance training on the other two.

Cut just 100 calories a day. "For every decade after 40, there's roughly a 1 percent decrease in calorie requirements," says Bonci. "That's the equivalent of one extra cookie." Eating every three to four hours to keep your metabolism revved can also help keep off the weight.

Key Nutrients You Need Now

Calcium: As you approach menopause, bone-building estrogen starts to decline and calcium becomes more important. Ironically, you absorb less calcium from the food you eat because your stomach doesn't make as much of the acid necessary for absorption. Aim for 1,000 milligrams a day from low-fat dairy, supplements, or a combination.

Vitamin D: This nutrient helps your body absorb calcium, keeps your immune system strong, protects against breast and colon cancers, and even prevents hearing loss. But by the time you reach your 40s, levels of D quickly start to plummet. "There's no way to get enough vitamin D from your diet because very few foods contain it," says Bonci. Your best bet: a daily supplement of 600 to 1,000 international units.

Fiber: It reduces bloat and makes you feel fuller longer. Plus, "fiber helps decrease cholesterol and your risk for colon cancer," says Dr. Peeke. Aim for a mix of soluble (from fruits, vegetables, barley, and oats), and insoluble (from whole wheat bread and bran).

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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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