Are you a bit over 40 years old but feel a lot older than you really are? That could be attributed to your diet, among other things. Your diet plays a crucial role in not only your overall health but also how you look.
A wrong diet can make you add unnecessary weight that is hard to burn off. It could also affect your overall health adversely and increase the risk of chronic diseases.
Turning 40 is not only a milestone but is also the time of transition. At this age, you start bearing heavy responsibilities, which include caring for children, parents or thinking of changing careers.
At such a period in most people’s lives, they spend less time on themselves and end up exhausted and stressed out.
The 40s is also the age of menopause for most women, though the average age for climacteric is 51. Any woman who has not had a menstrual period for 12 successive months is considered menopausal.
The Warning Signs of Aging
As a woman, when you start approaching this milestone, you will start experiencing some changes in your body. These changes start occurring for at least 10 years before your menstrual cycle stops.
The changes affect everything in your body from your appearance to the overall health of your bones and heart. This is the peri-menopausal stage in which your estrogen levels start decreasing.
You will start having shorter or heavier periods, hot flashes, missed periods, irritability, and insomnia. This stage can lead to depression and anxiety in some women.
Metabolism also starts slowing down while weight gradually shifts to your thighs, hips, abdomen, chest, and shoulders.
Luckily, it is never too late to make plans for your health. When you improve your health, you will have more energy, and look your best at all times.
Below are diet mistakes you should avoid if you want to look young after 40.
Diet Mistakes Making You Look Older After 40
1. Carb Phobia
Your body needs the energy to function optimally. This is what carbohydrates are meant to provide since they are vital macronutrients the human body needs for optimal operation.
However, you need to eat carbs in moderation because overdoing them can be problematic. Most importantly, avoid processed carbs, which are loaded with sugar and additives that trigger weight gain and make you look older than you are.
Get your carbs from unprocessed foods such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, veggies, and fruits.
2. Eating More than Your Body Needs
Many people tend to eat much more than their body requires. Overeating will not only expand your waistline but it’ll also weaken your immune system.
Reducing your food intake can even help you live longer, according to research. Therefore, stop eating when you feel full, don’t try to clean up the plate.
3. Cut Down Non-nutritious Foods
If you’re like most people, you only consider calorie content when making food choices. Well, after 40, you should pay just as much attention to nutrient content.
Now, you don’t have to through the pain of reading every food label to know the nutrient content. You can easily avoid non-nutritious foods by cutting back on processed foods. Conversely, eating plant-based foods will give you plenty of nutrients.
4. Not Eating Plant-Based Foods
Most plant-based foods are not palatable, so many people tend to neglect them. But plant-based diets are more nutritious and provide the fiber that is necessary for sound health.
Therefore, minimize meat-based meals and incorporate plant-based foods in your diet.
5. Not Eating the Right Fats
Many people in their 40s eat the wrong type of fats which facilitates aging. As you may know, aging is linked with increased fat mass, cholesterol, and BMI.
Therefore, eat good, unsaturated fats, especially anti-inflammatory omega-3s. Replace red meat, butter, etc. with unsaturated fats.
Unsaturated fats, according to research can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Omega-3s are noted for their heart-healthy benefits.
Add these healthy fats to your diet.
6. Not Getting Enough Fiber
Fiber is a hero of good nutrition, unfortunately, many of us don’t consume enough every day.
Low fiber intake can accelerate aging because fiber plays several crucial roles in the human body, including management of digestive, energy levels, appetite, etc.
You can find fiber in fruits, legumes, grains, and vegetables. Broccoli, quinoa, and brown rice are also loaded with fiber.
7. Not Reducing Salt Intake
Many of us try to limit salt intake by adding less table salt to our food. But that doesn’t help much if your diet has processed foods, which are loaded with sodium.
Even though there are conflicting studies on the effects of excessive salt intake, some studies show it increases the risk of hypertension.
The average person should consume 2.3 grams of salt every day. You can quickly get this amount by eating one slice of bread, a serving of fish pie, and a slice of ham.
Therefore, pay more attention to the foods you eat so that you don’t end up adding more salt than you need. Avoid processed foods; it will help to cut down salt intake.
Use herbs and lemon juice to add flavor to your foods. This is an ultra-smart way to stop the needless addition of salt to what you eat.
8. Not Sleeping Enough
Yes, there is a correlation between the quality and duration of your sleep. However, some nutrients have a significant influence on both.
Magnesium promotes healthy sleep by encouraging the relaxation of muscles. Green, leafy vegetables are excellent sources of magnesium as well as lentils, nuts, and brown rice.
9. Taking Your Bones for Granted
Both middle-aged men and women are prone to osteoporosis. This is a condition which causes bones to lose tissue, thereby making them very brittle. It is erroneously believed that osteoporosis is a “women’s problem.”
But the truth is that men are not immune to this abnormal loss of bony tissue. Therefore, you need a nutrient-laden diet that will keep your bones healthy.
This means you need calcium and vitamin D, both essential for the maintenance of bone density. Therefore, go for calcium-rich foods like almonds, kidney beans, sardines, etc.
10. Not Downsizing Portions
Many people don’t exercise portion control, including middle-aged men and women. As you get older and metabolism slows down, your body uses fewer calories to go through activities daily.
It is, therefore, important to watch your portions, so you don’t overeat. To do this, start reading nutrition labels to get an idea of what portion sizes you should take. Pre-portion foods using food-storage containers and stick to those servings all the time.
11. Not Practicing Mindful Eating
Eating your food slowly helps you not only to enjoy the food but also avoid overeating. Eating too fast, on the other hand, will make you eat more than you require.
Take advantage of these mindful eating strategies and you’ll be surprised by how they can dramatically improve your health.
The diet mistakes above can make you look older than you are unless you follow the suggestions up there.
Finally, do strength training to help preserve lean muscle and stay strong. If you prefer to exercise at home, use this short workouts sequence.