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Nutrition for the 40 plus

As we get older our bodies needs’ can change in terms of health requirements.  Often we are in a new stage of life that presents its own unique battles and challenges.  Some of the most common are increased work requirements and taking care of the aging previous generation.  These activities will consume more of our time and energy than before causing increased physical demands, emotional and financial demands as well.  It is in this stage of life that it becomes easy to neglect ones health but also is the time of life when ones health is most important.  We all need to make sure we are making the right nutritional choices, are getting enough sleep, are exercising and participating in activities that we enjoy and help reduce stress.  Eating the right foods is the very basic step to creating the healthy life style we need to be able to meet these new challenges head on.  A well-balanced meal plan can go a long way with a wide variety of food choices.  These food choices should include a balance of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water. 

Small amounts of fats are needed in our diets to provide us with the energy to get through our day.  Although fats do not usually contain nutrients, they are high in calories and are the best source of energy.  There are good and bad sources of fats.  Foods containing fat that you want to include in your diet are things such as chicken, fish, lean  meat, cheese, milk, margarine, canola oil and egg whites.  When buying these items, you want to make sure you buy reduced fat as much as possible.  Although we want fats in our diets, we don’t want to overdose on this ingredient either.  Some sources of fat you most likely want to avoid are fast foods, fatty meats such as liver, processed cheese, egg yolks, butter and whole milk

Foods rich in protein are very important to our diets as it is protein that helps re-build muscle.  Proteins contain amino acids which are the building blocks for our cells and tissue and focus on growth, maintenance and repair.  Good sources of protein include chicken, beans, nuts and seeds

Carbohydrates are also very important to our diets.  Carbohydrates are either known to be simple or complex and are the main source of energy in our diet.  Complex carbohydrates are high in nutrients without the fat content and are found in foods such as cereal, vegetables, rice and pasta.  Simple carbohydrates are higher in calories and can have a low nutritional value.  These carbohydrates are found in syrup, candy, honey and sweets.  You want to avoid as much of these simple carbohydrates as you can

Vitamins and minerals are essential in helping our bodies run and work efficiently.  Vitamin C helps the body to fight infection.  Vitamin A is good for maintaining healthy skin and hair.  Vitamin K helps make substances for blood clotting while Vitamin B12 helps form red blood cells.  All of these vitamins work together to keep our body running smoothly.  Minerals also help keep our bodies running smoothly by maintaining important body functions such as building body tissue.  Minerals include calcium which is needed to build bones and teeth.  Fluoride is a mineral that helps keep teeth from decaying and helps to maintain our bone strength.  Iron is used to form hemoglobin in our blood and potassium is needed for muscle contraction.  Vitamins and minerals are vital to our health

Water is absolutely essential when it comes to proper nutrition as 60-70% of our body weight consists of water.  If you have trouble drinking plain water try adding a few ice cubs to cool the temperature.  Juice, milk, fruit, soups and even reduced fat jello will help get your body the water it needs.  Try to avoid caffeine as much as possible as this only stimulates the body

Proper nutrition is necessary for good health but it does not have to be complicated or expensive.  Try planning your meals for the week and sticking to simple snacks that you can take with you on the go.  Planning ahead often cuts down on un-necessary spending and on the number of junk food products that end up in the house.  Taking care of our bodies and our nutrition is one of the best things we can do to help keep ourselves looking and feeling young.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any diseases.