All sorts of changes start to occur in our bodies after we turn 40. Unfortunately, many of these changes can ruin our health and increase risk of disease. For instance, muscle loss causes weight gain, while loss of bone mass increases risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
The good news is we can take simple steps to prevent most of these changes. Here’s what you should do after 40 to stay healthy.
1. Boost calcium intake.
Calcium is essential for strong bones. And as I said, bone density decreases as we age. Getting 1,000 mg – 1,200 mg of calcium each day will help keep your bones strong. And as result, it will lower risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
Increase intake of these plant-based calcium sources. And remember to get enough vitamin D as well.
2. Increase muscle mass.
By the time people hit 40 they’re already losing muscle mass. Doing strength training consistently can help prevent muscle loss and even increase muscle mass.
You don’t even have to go to the gym. Use bodyweight exercises to build muscle and strength.
3. Don’t use supplements before talking to a doctor.
Some supplements are beneficial, but they can’t fix all health issues. Don’t try to treat every health problem with supplements. Get a blood test to eliminate guesswork and find out which supplements your body truly needs.
4. Regulate blood sugar levels.
High or low blood sugar levels can cause insulin resistance, fatigue and headaches. Luckily, you can regulate blood sugar levels by avoiding processed carbs and sticking to these habits.
5. Eat more antioxidants.
Chances are you already know that antioxidants are important. They help fight free radicals, which accelerate aging and damage cells. Antioxidant-rich foods also help fight inflammation. Veggies, fruits and herbs are good antioxidant sources.
6. Eat enough fiber.
Adequate fiber intake will improve bowel movements, lower cholesterol levels and balance blood sugar levels. Women over 40 should consume 25 grams of fiber a day, while men between ages 40 and 50 should consume 38 grams of fiber a day.
I may also note that high-fiber foods are loaded with essential nutrients.
7. Quit smoking.
Smoking ruins health in people of all ages. It increases risk of heart disease, cancer, dementia and other diseases. If you can’t seem to quit smoking, these apps may help.
8. Don’t ignore thyroid issues.
We are more prone to thyroid problems after 40. Don’t ignore common symptoms of thyroid disorder like fatigue, sudden weight gain, dry skin, and so on.
9. Stretch regularly.
Most people over 40 have stiff muscles and joints. Stretching can help loosen these muscles and eliminate pain. It’s important to mention that morning stretches can help you stay energetic all day.
10. Go for annual exams.
You shouldn’t ignore the doctor as you grow older. Seeing a doctor annually will help prevent diseases. It’ll also be wise not to ignore any persistent health issue.
11. Eat more potassium.
Eating more bananas can help lower risk of high blood pressure. Other potassium-rich foods include spinach, potatoes (with the skin on) and avocado.
12. Don’t overdo cardio.
Moderate cardio improves cardiovascular health, but overdoing cardio can cause injuries. For example, excessive cycling is known to cause knee overuse injuries.
13. Take vitamin B12 supplements.
You may need to take vitamin B12 supplements. This nutrient helps keep your skin, hair and blood healthy.
Vitamin B12 is found in meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and dairy products, so we normally think of B12 deficiency as an issue just for vegetarians and vegans. B12 absorption reduces as we age, so talk to your doctor about whether you should be taking a B12 supplement even if you eat an omnivorous diet.
14. Walk more, drive less.
Walking is a great way to improve heart health and burn more calories. Choose to walk instead of drive when going to the supermarket or local market. Research shows that walking for 15 minutes every day can lower risk of osteoporosis.
15. Eat less.
This advice doesn’t only apply to those who want to lose weight. Research shows that reasonable caloric restriction can extend life and lower risk of age-related diseases.