Dietary Guide to Beating Middle-age

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Posted on: 19 May 2017 by Misty Jhones

Spread + 2 Recipes to Get You Started

A combination of hormonal changes, a reduced metabolic rate, an inappropriate diet, and lack of exercise inevitably lead to the dreaded middle-age spread suffered by many in their 50s and older. Age creeps up on everyone at some point but not as much in people who exercise properly and eat the right foods. The question now is what exactly are the right foods?
 
What should you be eating?
 
Researchers, who conducted a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, tracked more than 120,000 men and women with an average age of 51 over a period of two decades. Each of these individuals had their dietary habits studied and every four years when the participants were weighed, they were estimated to have gained an average of 3.35 pounds each year.
 
While lifestyle factors such as exercise and sleeping patterns came into play, diet contributed significantly to the weight gain. It was found that processed and unprocessed raw meat, potatoes, potato chips, and sugar-sweetened beverages were linked to weight gain. On the other hand, fruits, whole-grains, vegetables, nuts, and yogurt were the biggest contributors to weight loss, with yogurt topping the list and nuts coming in at second place. 
 
Essentially, foods to be avoided are those that cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels, like potato chips, rice, and white bread. Meanwhile, foods that should be eaten more are high-fibre foods such as oats and proteins such as seafood. 
 
As you hit your 50s, you may have to deal with issues such as high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. While you try to deal with middle-age spread, you need a diet that will also help prevent and treat these problems.  When you’re planning your food, you should focus on:
 
  • Nutritious smoothies – keep you filled and loaded up with vitamins and minerals.
  • A Mediterranean diet - based on different types of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, lean meats and seafood.
 
Recipes to get you started
 
Recipe 1: Morning energy blast smoothie
 
Nutritionist, Rick Hay, suggests you replace one meal with a smoothie everyday. For breakfast, he recommends a blend of:
  • 2 cups of English spinach
  • One half of an avocado
  • 1 tsp of linseeds or chia
  • 5 or 6 cashews
  • 200 – 250mls of unsweetened almond milk or coconut water 
 
This creamy smoothie is packed with vitamins and minerals including magnesium. If you’re wondering whether your blender will produce a super smooth blend with the nuts and seeds in the recipe, check Gadget Review’s pick of the top blenders to use. The nuts and avocado provide protein, while the linseeds or chia seeds provide healthy omegas and help you feel full.
 
General guidance
 
When you’re deciding what to put in a smoothie, always try to infuse nuts, green vegetables, and Greek yogurt. 
 
Recipe 2: Mediterranean grilled chicken and dill Greek yogurt sauce
 
In this recipe, Mediterranean chef, Suzy Karadsheh, uses chicken thighs, but we suggest you use chicken breasts instead. Chicken breast is lean and rich in protein, B-vitamins and magnesium.  
 
For sauce:
  • Greek yogurt (1 1/4 cup)
  • Minced garlic clove (1)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
  • Chopped fresh dill with stems removed (1 cup)
  • Olive oil (1 tbsp)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
 
For chicken:
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs (8)
  • Minced garlic cloves (10)
  • Paprika (1/2 tsp)
  • Allspice (1/2 tsp)
  • Juice of 1-2 lemons
  • Sliced red onion (1)
  • Ground nutmeg (1/2 tsp)
  • Ground green cardamom (1/4 tsp)
  • Olive oil (5 tbsp)
  • Salt and pepper
 
Instructions
  1. Make the dill Greek yogurt sauce first by combining the ingredients in a food processor and running it until you have a smooth thick sauce. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Mix the minced garlic and spices with 3 tbsp olive oil and rub on chicken.
  3. Put sliced red onions, the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, and lemon juice in a tray. Place chicken on top and refrigerate overnight or for 2-4 hours.
  4. When ready, place the chicken thighs on a gas grill set to medium-high and cover for 5-6 minutes before turning the chicken over and grilling for another 5-6 minutes covered.
  5. Serve with the dill Greek yogurt dip.
 
General guidance
 
When you’re planning your meals, be sure to make these foods top priority: fish, green leafy vegetables, chicken breast, oats, eggs, and cottage cheese.
 
Final note
 
Eating the right foods should be complemented with other lifestyle changes such as getting off the couch and exercising more often. It’s never too late to start making lifestyle adjustments to live healthier, but before you make any drastic changes, please check with your doctor.

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