N Is For Nutrition #DecodingMidlife

The definition of Nutrition – The process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.

Nutrition is important for everyone but this post of mine is specifically addressed to women.

We know the significance of nutrition for women yet we tend to ignore our personal needs.

How many times have you skipped your breakfast?

How many times have you just grabbed a coffee that too in a jiffy to drop your child to school on time?

How many times have you skipped lunch as you were stuck up to finish that household chore?

Been there, done that – Isn’t it?

That is the story of many women. Women are prone to neglecting their own dietary requirements while trying to balance the demands of family and work. Although I am very conscious of my dietary needs and work towards employing healthy lifestyle, I recently observed a lot of hair loss and loss of energy.

Thankfully, I had expert help just a call away. I spoke with my daughter’s sports nutritionist about the problems I was facing and she provided me guidance.

When I started planning for my posts on Midlife, Nutrition had to be spoken about. I contacted her again to provide me and my readers with her expert advice and suggestions. I believe with the help of dietitians we can begin a healthful transition into the midlife years.

So over to Ms Zarna Shah.

Midlife characterised by successful career, increased stress of child’s education, supporting the elderlies in the family is also a phase of major hormonal changes (second to pregnancy). It can be divided into 3 main phases:

  • Premenopause
  • Perimenopause
  • Menopause and everything in between 😉

Major signals or symptoms of these are mood swings, hot flashes, depression, drop in vitality, stamina, strength, hair fall, skin dryness, weight gain, truncal fat gain, reduction in bone mineral density.

One may have all, some or some lucky ones have none.

Though its timing is primarily governed by genetics its symptoms are pure lifestyle based and hence modifiable.

How can I breeze through my midlife?

Boost your metabolism:

BMR stands for basal metabolic rate of a body. In simple words, it’s the engine power of your body. This power starts dropping in the early thirties at the rate of 2-3% every decade. This means our body is slowing down post-thirties. This can be very well counter controlled by taking few simple steps:

  • Break your fast with a healthy feast: Yes, you read it right. You need to take a real wholesome breakfast to kick-start high BMR of the day. Unfortunately, we are too busy with our kid’s tiffin, instructing our maids of what is to be made in dinner, seeing off our hubbies in the morning giving a big miss to our first meal of the day. Breakfast needs to come within one hour of waking up. You can easily pack up a high carbohydrate with good quality proteins and fats in this meal.
  • Frequency is the key: How frequently we eat determines how quickly we burn. It’s simply the same logic as we spend as much as earn. So, take some food every 2-3 hours to keep the engine of your body going.
  • Feed your muscle and not fat: Muscles are the only active tissue of our body. You could call it as the engine of the body and the fuel of this engine is protein. Nuts, beans, pumpkin seeds, eggs, milk products, meat, fish, buckwheat, sprouts, peas, mushrooms, broccoli, etc add good value to the protein profile.
  • Exercise: Strengthening exercises, resistance exercises, weight-bearing exercises are all extremely important to preserve our asset i.e. muscle and to burn off our liabilities i.e. fat. These exercises will increase the BMR by 2 to 3 folds if done regularly.
  • Hydrate: Water is one of the most neglected macronutrients. It makes up 70 % of your body cells. A major reason for bloating, heaviness, acidity, constipation, skin issues is low water intake. Minimum 3-4 litres are needed for an average Indian with moderate activity. Its requirement goes up in special clinical cases and higher intensity exercises.

    Preserve the core:

    Wrong eating habits, erratic lifestyle, stress, etc has a negative effect on our skeletal system. Our bones start giving away by late thirties. We need to work on our calcium, magnesium and Vitamin D pool of the body from the mid-twenties for it to bear fruits in the forties. Dark green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, garden cress seeds, ragi, milk products, soya products, walnuts, whole grains, beans should feature in your diet.

    The superfoods:

    There are few functional foods which work beautifully in controlling the imbalance in our hormones thus helping us sail with the menopausal ill effects easily. These are omega 3 rich foods like salmon, walnuts, seaweed, olives, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds. Omega 3 supplements must start if one is a vegetarian. Other superfoods are goji berries, avocado, chia seeds, moringa, probiotics like kefir, sauerkraut, yoghurt, miso.

    Stomach-the real heart:

    Remember your gut health is utmost important to keep major body complaints at bay. The stomach is most happy with good soluble and insoluble fibre foods, good fatty acids coming from a variety of fat stores like plant oils, ghee, omega 3 fats. Add any probiotic food or supplement post-forties to aid digestion.

  • The VIT-amins and minerals:

    Vitamins are rightly called so as they are vital to our body literally. Late thirties and early forties is the time when our hair and skin problems arise due to hormonal upheaval as well as stress and lifestyle issues. This can be beautifully worked upon by our warrior vitamins like vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin A, biotin, quercetin, selenium, zinc.These are natural scavengers of the body which means that they attack the free radical harmful molecules and destroys them. So, pack up a good dose of guava, amla, citrus fruits, green leafy veggies, pomegranate, mangoes, carrots, pumpkin, flaxseeds, basil seeds, almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, berries, wheat grass, tomatoes on daily basis.

I hope the tips by Zarna help you work towards a healthier lifestyle.

I read this somewhere and feel it’s an apt quote for today.

“Keep Calm And Let The Nutritionist Handle It”

About Zarna Shah:

Ms Zarna Shah is a clinical dietitian and sports nutritionist and lifestyle counsellor. She holds a master’s degree in Food Science Dietetics and Food Service Management with honours. She has also done her certification from the prestigious k11 academy of Sports science and Nutrition.

Zarna started her career in the field of Dietetics in 2004 in renowned hospitals like KEM Sion hospital and Tata memorial cancer hospital to gain best practical experience in varied clinical ailments. With this, she simultaneously gained a good sports and fitness nutrition experience from one of the leading chains of gyms ‘Talwalkars’ followed by becoming the head of nutrition department in the k11 group of gyms heading the Mumbai team. Having garnered valuable experience of 1000s of clientele she finally found her own company under the name Dietwise. Dietwise aims at holistic health and enhancing all the five parameters of fitness. Living by this motto today it can boast of many noted celebrities from business and entertainment industry.

In her journey, she has also got opportunities to associate with specialists ranging from diabetologists, cardiologists, endocrinologists, nephrologists, working with pharmaceutical companies like Unichem, done school seminars on nutrition with bournvita. I have been associated with corporate houses like Deutsche bank, intelinet, WNS, Saatchi and Co, Marico, Bournvita as well as on board of Lifecell, Health Naturel, Vedic evolution.

Zarna gained her share of fame through noted food and health-based shows like ‘Flabq’, ‘Health mange more’, ‘Health magazine’, ‘Becoming’ on food food channel. We have also conceptualised and written a sports nutrition journal for MS Wellness Pvt Ltd.

For more dietary tips and advice, Follow Zarna on Dietwise


10 thoughts on “N Is For Nutrition #DecodingMidlife”

  1. Pingback: O Is For Optimism #DecodingMidlife - Aesha's Musings

  2. A much needed post, Aesha! Women are usually very lazy when it comes to their own nutrition. I learnt this the hard way when I developed knee and back pain after pregnant. I took up gymming seriously and was told to eat right. I now take care of my nutrition with nuts and seeds, vegetables, juices, etc. Also, gut microbe that you are talking about is one of the only things that medical science and nutritional science agree upon. Take care of your gut, and you will be hale and hearty all your life.

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