Monday 19 August 2019

Your diet in your 60s

Leafy greens
Leafy greens

Peta Bee

Eat healthily and you shouldn't need supplements, but I'm mindful that even the most conscientious eater can't always get everything they need from food as they age. A supplement can be useful for obtaining those hard-to-find vitamins and minerals such as magnesium (found in dark, leafy greens) and vitamin B2 (found in cheese and almonds). If you find you spend more time indoors, then a supplement of vitamin D is worthwhile too as it has been linked to many health benefits.

A two-pronged approach to this is simple: myself and my co-author on The Ageless Body Dr Sarah Schenker advocate 1) cutting back on carbohydrates and replacing them with more vegetables and healthy fats; and 2) a four-hour fast between meals, not drinking or eating anything but herbal tea, water or black coffee.

We recommend sticking to a four-hour fast for immediate and long-lasting health gains. The rules are easy: after you've eaten, you then fast for the following three to four hours. Why? After around two hours of eating, the body begins to enter what those in the medical world call 'the fasted state'. Blood glucose levels begin to drop, insulin secretion slows down and there's a rise in a different hormone called glucagon. Just as insulin signals the fed state, glucagon signals the fasted state and it has opposing - and far more appealing - actions. It breaks down and mobilises stores of carbohydrate and fat, and also inhibits lipogenesis (or fat storage).

The first few times you stick to the regimen you might find yourself feeling hungry or low on energy but that won't last long. Your body is a super-efficient machine and will reset itself to this new approach to meal timings. So if you can distract yourself from these feelings for 20 minutes, you'll find that they pass and there is no need to snack. Before long it will become second nature and you will reap the benefits.

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