Life after 40: Staying healthy

Monday September 2 2019

Coloured foods contain polyphenols and

Coloured foods contain polyphenols and carotenoids which are associated with a longer life. sHUTTER PHOTO 

By Beatrice Nakibuuka

You might be juggling parenting, caring for your aging parents and the last assignments in your careers. All these are likely to contribute to your stress and inflammation, which decrease the quality and length of your life.
While the aging process is natural to everyone, if we develop the right attitude towards our health, we can feel younger and more energetic. If you have not been eating healthy or exercising regularly but want to prevent diseases which become common in the later years of your life, it may be a bit late but you can still start now.

Diet
Proteins are very important and taking full fat milk particularly after exercise will help combat the reduction in muscle mass associated with getting older.
Peter Rukundo, a researcher at the department of human nutrition and home economics at Kyambogo University says, milk also contains calcium, which is essential for proper bone health. Since bones become weaker with age, a boost on calcium is very essential.
“Probiotics such as yoghurt and other fermented foods contain good bacteria which is important in maintaining a healthy gut and can help you get clear skin especially those prone to adult-onset of acne or rosacea,” Rukundo says.
Add turmeric, beetroot, carrots to get a good supply of vitamin A that fights macular degeneration as well as inflammation such as arthritis, depression and pain. Grains, seeds and nuts are also very important.

Tame your drinking
It is sensible to have alcohol-free days as you age. No amount of alcohol is safe to use. Taking alcohol will damage your heart, liver, nervous system and leads to poor quality sleep. Instead, opt for water instead of energy drinks, soda or juices.
Mental health and rest
Take a couple of minutes to notice your breathing five times a day and every evening do something that takes your mind off work and the stresses of life: a long bath, reading a novel or yoga.
According to Kizito Wamala, a clinical psychologist at Centre for Victims of Torture, taking walks in nature is associated with a whole host of mental health benefits, including decreased depression, improved wellbeing and mental health and lower stress levels.
Get quality sleep as it has a long-term impact on our physical and mental health.
Try to get up and go to bed at roughly the same time each day and eat at regular intervals for improved mental and physical health.
Stop watching television or using the laptop or phone an hour before going to sleep. Exposure to the blue-and-white light given off by these gadgets prevents our brains from releasing melatonin, a hormone that is responsible for sleep.
Tumwebaze recommends that you limit the amount of food and drink you consume in the hours before bedtime to improve the quality of our sleep. Invest in good quality bedding. Your mattress, sheets and duvet do not have to cost a fortune, but they must be comfortable to encourage deep sleep.

Visit your doctor regularly
Treat aches, pains and illness quickly so they do not become chronic. Have your cholesterol, blood pressure, sugar levels checked. You can also have a measure of liver and kidney function.
Avoid doing anything irreversible such as a surgery to your body because it puts strain on your body and is likely to take long to heal.
Therefore, if possible go for other options that do not require surgery.

Strengthen your muscles
For each decade added to us after 30, our muscles decline by up to eight per cent. This is why strength training is important for maintaining muscle mass, preventing osteoporosis and burning fat.
You need to work out all your body, not just parts of it.

Advertisement