February is the month of love, but if your love affair is with junk food, you may want to break it off. For those over 50, the food you eat may be especially important when it comes to maintaining your waistline, aging gracefully and preventing harmful interactions with medication.
According to a recent post on "Daily Mail," women over 40 experience decreases in their metabolism. As a result, middle-aged women may have to adjust their diets to maintain a healthy weight. Dr. Pamela Peeks, author of "Fight Fat Over 40," told "Daily Mail":
After 40, the rules of self-care change. You need to embrace this and re-evaluate your lifestyle.
Your reproductive system, libido, body composition, moods, skin and hair all change in preparation for the next 40 years of life. A 40-year-old woman has a very different body to the one she had ten years earlier.
A woman's metabolism declines at the rate of at least 5 per cent per decade of life, starting at the age of 20, due to the natural loss of muscle mass that comes with age. The less muscle mass you have, the fewer calories your body is able to burn.
At the age of 20, you may have required 2,000 calories a day, but by 45 you could require 300 fewer calories a day. If you continue to consume those extra calories, you will gain 1lb every 12 days or about 30lb per year.
In addition to keeping an eye on your weight, adhering to a stricter diet may also be key for healthy aging. For example, Susan Jane White -- a nutritional cook -- recently wrote for Independent.ie about replacing processed food with fresh food to slow down the aging process. Her aging superhero? Alfalfa:
Sprouted alfalfa is the patron saint of youth and it requires absolutely no cooking to eat. These baby shoots are densely packed with nutrition, working out cheaper and tastier than popping a daily multivitamin pill.
Alfalfa is flush with more vitamin C than a smug bowl of oranges. This is the vitamin that keeps skin luminous and supple, and feeds barrel-chested immune systems. There's also calcium to help strengthen bones and teeth, and immodest amounts of antioxidants to chase toxins away.
Of course, your diet in midlife isn't just about staying trim and healthy aging. As you begin taking more medications, you also have to be careful that everyday food and beverages don't negatively interact with those drugs. Some food and drinks can affect how certain medication is absorbed, broken down and eliminated. According to O, The Oprah Magazine, "New studies are revealing that a variety of seemingly harmless combinations of foods, beverages, and medicines can lead to serious risks." That glass of juice or deli sandwich may seem harmless, but you should understand any harmful interactions with your medication before you chow down.
Think you can guess which food is taboo based on the medication? Check out the slideshow below for some trivia on food and drug interactions, courtesy of O Magazine, which featured a quiz in its February Issue called "What Not To Mix." Then keep clicking to watch videos on medication safety, including advice from "The Doctors."