Being Healthy: Combatting Ageing
The digestive system becomes sluggish, and nutrients from food do not get absorbed as efficiently as when we were younger.
Photo Credit : AP
There you are sitting in a coffee shop, finishing your meeting, sipping black coffee as always, when you suddenly get an acidity attack and you double up with pain. You didn’t eat or drink anything out of the ordinary. Your routine has been the same for the last 10 years. Then why is your body suddenly reacting? You’re growing older.
As we grow older, we need to make a few changes to our “I’ve-always-eaten-like-this” routine. We need to consume less food, but our nutrition requirements actually increase, leaving us with very little to fight issues related to ageing. Hence, we need to supplement our diets. Listed below are some of the reasons why, as we grow older (40+) we need to consume less food and take more supplements:
Lower metabolic rate: As we grow older, we lose muscle and lean mass, our resting metabolic rate dips and we are prone to gaining weight, hence, pushing us towards lower food intake. This means lower nutrients intake as well. However, this is the time when the body needs maximum nutrients since ageing causes the release of free radicals, which puts us at risk of coronary heart disease and can lead to other age-related problems like damage to eyes, brain, muscles and bones. If we do not take supplements like anti-oxidants to counter free radical damage, our health can be seriously compromised.
Lack of absorption: The digestive system becomes sluggish, and nutrients from food do not get absorbed as efficiently as when we were younger.
Low fluid intake: Dehydration becomes an issue due to lower consumption of fluids. If this is combined with lack of potassium, this can lead to confusion in the mind. If you are taking blood pressure medicines, many of which are diuretics, you are prone to potassium deficiency as diuretics strip the body off potassium. Supplements with potassium, or potassium-rich foods like bananas and potatoes help combat potassium deficiency.
Weaker bones: As we grow older, our bones become more porous. Caffiene, carbonated diet drinks, junk food, all add to that damage. To avoid or combat pains, get your vitamin D levels checked and get a higher dose of calcium and vitamin D supplements.
Lesser B vitamins: Restricting diet and calories can make people prone to B-complex deficiencies, which in turn are known to decrease iron absorption, leading to anaemia, which compromises the immune system. B vitamins are also essential chemicals for mood upliftment, and stressed out people tend to get low, crabby or depressed due to their compromised physical state. Hence, supplementing with B vitamins helps them keep their mind and body strong.
Question Of The Fortnight
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I have been suffering from hypothyroidism for 8 years and the doctor tells me I have to be on medication life long. Is there no cure to reverse this?
— Amita Banerji, 37, Bangalore
The thyroid regulates our metabolism and in women, also their hormones. It is reversible via nutritional therapy, however requires strict discipline. Eliminate milk, gluten, sour and cold items and add more of oily sea fish, kelp, and lots of fibre in your diet. Also, practice deep breathing exercises to pacify hormones and reduce inflammation and do moderate exercise and yoga. It takes six months of doing all this before readings come down.