Contributed by: Rachana Arya
So, you’re in your 40s? Or maybe you are a few years on either side, but one thing is for sure, it is a challenging time for your body.
Sure, you may be feeling fine, but your body begins a significant physical and hormonal shift.
Some of the things that naturally happen are far weirder than just a progressive decline of metabolism.
These changes can manifest in a number of different ways, from constant fatigue, slightly duller reasoning skills, a drop in muscle mass, and sleep problems to a weakened immune system.
Yes, there are small inevitable changes, but, believe it or not, a combination of these small changes adds up to making the forties a bit of a rollercoaster.
Here’s the good news: To overcome the hormonal shifts that occur during perimenopause (the years leading up to menopause), it is crucial to ensure optimal intake of nutrients, and of course, spend some time either in the gym or working out at home.
To ensure you live your best decade ever—and not in the doctor’s office—follow these essential nutrients that you should not miss.
Pump up your iron levels
The 40s correspond to perimenopause for most women and are associated with the risk of iron deficiency anaemia (IDA).
The diverse consequences of iron deficiency (ID) and its complications are well known.
Left underdiagnosed and undertreated, this condition has a significant detrimental influence on your quality of life.
The good news is that you can pump up your body’s internal stores of iron! A combination of diet and supplements can play a role.
So, how are you going to get enough iron?
The best natural dietary sources of iron are tofu, nuts, legumes, beans, dark leafy vegetables and fortified grain.
Oral iron supplements are also a great option and are available over-the-counter.
Along with iron, you must consume enough vitamin C to aid iron absorption.
Fuel up proteins for maintaining muscular mass
Protein is an essential macronutrient, which is actually an essential part of anyone’s diet – and especially so for menopausal women!
It is often called the human body’s building block. It aids in repairing and strengthening muscles, building hormones, healthy skin, strong nails, digestive enzymes and more.
Well, here you have hit 40, your hormones are starting to decrease, and there’s a whole range of hormones that are needed to keep you going well.
If you don’t get enough protein, your body is going to find it difficult to keep you balanced, so it’s really the important one here.
So, how are you going to get enough protein?
Well, the consensus is that during this period you need a decent-sized serving of protein with every meal.
So make high-quality protein a part of every meal, rather than just once or twice a day.
Some of the richest protein-rich foods include lentils, beans, peas, eggs, tofu, edamame, nuts, seeds, and dairy products such as milk, cottage cheese, and plain yoghurt.
Catch up on calcium for bone health
Calcium helps to build your bones at any age, but especially beyond the age of 40.
Women entering their 40s should know that their peak bone mass—when their bones are at their maximum density and strength—starts to decline in their early-to-mid-40s.
Since that can make you more vulnerable to developing osteoporosis, it is recommended that younger pre-menopausal women should eat adequate calcium-rich foods.
So, how are you going to get enough calcium?
Enhance your calcium intake with dairy products like milk, cheese, and yoghurt.
Many dairy-free sources of calcium are available such as seeds (poppy, sesame, celery, and chia seeds), green vegetables – such as curly kale, okra, almonds, ragi, beans, and lentils.
Life begins at 40
Taking charge of your health is so important during peri-menopause—or at least it should be.
A key aspect that comes with this new phase of life is to make the appropriate lifestyle changes.
Along with a healthy diet, it is essential to get enough nutrients to keep the cellular and organ system processes of your body running at optimal levels.
Remember, one of the best things you can do as you journey into your later decades of life is to make self-care a part of your routine — and never feel bad about it.
Also, it’s a wise move to opt for regular health checkups to keep an eye on your overall health.
These health checks enable you to keep an eye out for triggers that can take your health for a toss and take preventive measures if anything off pops up.
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