As our body ages it's important we're getting all of the right nutrition, so with the help of nutritionist Sarah West (www.sarahwestnutrition.co.uk) we have a guide on how to look after yourself as you get older.
In your 30s
Your 30s can be a hectic time – juggling the demands of children, an active social life and a career can often lead to poor food choices or eating on the run, so it’s important choose healthy convenience foods where possible. Microwavable brown rice sachets, frozen vegetables, eggs, pre-cooked prawns and chicken slices and wholewheat pasta are all excellent supermarket staples for this period. A women’s thirties are their key childbearing years, making folate (and folic acid, the form used in dietary supplements and fortified foods) a key nutrient. Folate may also help reduce the risk of heart disease. Beans are brimming with folate, as are green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and broccoli. Pregnant women and those planning to get pregnant should take 400 micrograms of folic acid in the form of a supplement, in addition to eating folate-rich foods.
In your 40s
Your metabolism begins to slow in your 40s so it’s very important to focus on making healthy food choices. Replacing high-glycaemic carbohydrates with smaller portions of wholegrain alternatives (plus plenty of fibre-rich fruits and vegetables) will help fill you up without adding unnecessary pounds. Your levels of the bone-building hormone oestrogen start to decline in your 40s so the bone-strengthening mineral calcium becomes more important. Aim for 1,000 milligrams a day from low-fat dairy products (such a live yogurt, milk and cheese), almonds, sardines and green leafy vegetables. Essential fatty acids found in oily fish and flaxseed can also help balance hormones and reduce pre-menopausal hot flushes; particularly important as women begin to lose their natural hormonal protection during their forties.
In your 50s
As you age the synovial fluid content of the joints is reduced making them stiffer. Cartilage degenerates and ligaments shorten and lose some flexibility, making arthritis and aching joints a common problem for women in their 50s. GOPO is a natural anti-inflammatory compound derived from rose-hips that is clinically proven to reduce inflammation and pain in those with arthritis, as well as healthy, active adults with everyday joint pains. Due to the drying process needed to isolate the anti-inflammatory compound, GOPO can only be taken in the form of a food supplement. It may also be helpful for women in their 50s to include anti-inflammatory foods in their diet, such as oily fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, fresh tuna, herring and sardines), plus anti-inflammatory spices such as cinnamon, turmeric and ginger.