There’s a lot to like about getting older

You’ve made most of the silly mistakes you’re going to (and survived), you’ve likely got more time on your hands since your children have flown the nest (or are at least at a more self-sufficient stage), you now have the confidence to care much less about what other people think of you and no longer suffer fools, you may find that you have more money in the bank to do with as you wish, and since the desire for more and better has diminished, you’re calmer and more content.

But do you find yourself wishing ‘if only…’ in relation to your health and wellness?

You may wonder where your energy and vitality has gone, your skin has probably lost its dewy glow and freshness, your digestion is more troublesome than it’s been in years, and you want to ensure you’re taking care of your long term health, so there are no nasty surprises lurking round the corner.

I want to let you know that the food you eat matters more than you think. What and how you eat influences every area of your health and eating the right diet for YOU coupled with some positive lifestyle changes, like getting the sleep you need and managing stress, will help you feel like a new person.

There’s no reason that you cannot feel fabulous at any age, if you take the right actions, and it’s my job as a nutrition coach to motivate and support my clients to do just that. Of course, working one-to-one means I can create a nutrition and lifestyle strategy built around your exact needs. I’m going to share 6 of the most common things that come up for my clients, and how you can use the immense power of good nutrition to lead a long and healthy life.

FEEL MORE ENERGISED

Blood Sugar Balance

There are so many reasons that you might be feeling more sluggish than you’d like, and pinpointing what’s
behind your lack of energy is something we’d need to discuss in person. But what I’m going to share with you is a simple strategy that can make a big difference. Balancing blood sugar levels is one of the key things I help my clients with. Eating in a way that provides a constant supply of energy through the day will help you avoid dips in blood sugar than can leave you feeling tired, grumpy and craving the ‘wrong’ kinds of foods.

Very simply, you’d want to have a little protein at every meal and snack. This includes meat, fish, eggs,
and vegetarian protein sources like tofu, lentils, beans, chickpeas and quinoa. You also need plenty of non-starchy veg (starchy veg include potatoes, parsnips, sweet potatoes, corn) and smaller portions than you may be used to of starchy carbs like potatoes, rice, bread and pasta.

Unfortunately, the staple diet for many people involves cereal, sandwiches and pasta – often several servings in the same day – and this can contribute to blood sugar highs and subsequent crashes.

FIX YOUR DIGESTION

As you get older, some very important changes take place that can alter the way you digest your food.

Stomach Acid

With age, the body produces less stomach acid. This acid is needed to break down protein in your food. Low stomach acid production is linked to a variety of gastrointestinal problems, including Helicobacter pylori infection, dysbiosis, food allergies and intolerance, rheumatoid arthritis, acne rosacea, asthma, and decreased secretion of intrinsic factor, a chemical required for vitamin B12 absorption.

Heartburn and Indigestion

become more common as we age. Contrary to public belief this – in the majority of cases – is a result of too little stomach acid, not too much. Because of that, many people take over-thecounter meds to neutralise stomach acid or are even prescribed a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), medication that blocks stomach acid production. The drug’s name usually ends in “-ole”, such as Lansoprazole or Omeprazole. As a result, vitamin B12 deficiency is common, especially in older people, and unfortunately it can be the single underlying reason for anxiety and depression. If you have been prescribed a PPI, do not stop the medication without your doctor’s help and support. Stopping the drug can result in ‘rebound reflux’ – heartburn that is much worse than before – so you must come off it in a controlled way. If you are found to be deficient in vitamin B12, but you have a condition that requires you to remain on PPI long term, your doctor may be able to support you with regular B12 injections.

Digestive Enzymes

The stomach and intestines secrete enzymes that help break down the food further. You guessed it, these enzymes are reduced as you age, too – not least because enzyme secretion depends on adequate stomach acid levels. The result of one or both of the above can be bloating, belching or flatulence after meals, undigested food in the stool, indigestion, and diarrhoea or constipation. The good news is that targeted supplements are available that can improve symptoms of both, but these should be recommended by an experienced nutrition practitioner.

Vitamin D

is important for digestive function and affects all organs involved in the digestive process, including making stomach acid. The older you get, the more you are likely to be deficient in vitamin D, simply because you lose some of your body’s natural ability to make it. That extra holiday in the sunshine is important, along with supplementation (and finding the right dosage for you based on functional testing is key).

Constipation

As the digestion starts to slow down, constipation can become a problem. Some types of medications may include constipation as a side effect. These include calcium channel blockers for high blood pressure and narcotic painkillers. Increased inactivity also plays a part.

 

 

Exciting News!

Pop in for a socially distanced visit ... I have joined the newly opened Generation Health Medical Clinic in Monkstown.
My Nutritional Advice will be provided to support Dr. Nina Byrne's preventative healthcare philosophy.