3 diet changes to make as you age
According to celebrity nutritionist Radhika Karle
“I am not a big fan of eliminating food groups from diets. There is a reason why our body needs each of these foods,” explains Radhika Karle. The celebrity Pilates trainer and nutritionist (who works with actors like Sonam Kapoor Ahuja) is a strong believer in eating everything in moderation. In the virtual edition of ELLE’s Masterclass in partnership with Pure Nutrition, Radhika chatted with ELLE’s Beauty and Health Director, Mamta Mody about the dietary changes that help us age gracefully. Here are the big takeaways from the conversation…
3 nutrients our body loses with age
Over time, our body loses its ability to naturally absorb nutrients, which makes it important that we take extra measures to fill in on the right foods and supplements to keep our bodies functioning at the optimum. “Remember to treat supplements as add-ons to your meals, never as substitutes,” explains Radhika.
“It pulls energy from the food that you consume. The common signs of deficiencies are a drop in energy levels and lower immunity.”
Calcium and vitamin D
We already know that calcium helps maintain healthy bones, muscles, nerves and heart. But it’s vitamin D that helps the body absorb calcium, making it an essential marker. “Deficiencies are caused by lack of sun exposure, avoiding dairy and the absence of weight-bearing exercises. These exercises actually improve bone density, ultimately upping bone health. Some signs of calcium deficits are aches and pains in your joints, lower back and knee pain and in extreme cases, white spots on the face.”
“In order to be fit, you want muscle mass to be at its highest and that’s why protein is super important. Collagen, another form of protein, prevents signs of premature ageing. A recent study shows that collagen levels can reduce as early as age 18.” Some signs of protein deficiency are sagging skin, tiredness and slow post-workout recovery.
How to plate up a wholesome meal
Carbohydrates give you energy, protein helps the body repair muscles and fats help absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K—all these food groups are an essential part of your meals. “If you knock out fats from your diet, you will lose out on the efficient absorption of antioxidant-rich vitamins like A and E that protect the body from free radical damage.”
For weight maintenance, it is important to eat right and at the right time. Finish your dinner before the sun sets and wake up and have breakfast before the sun rises.
If you’re not sure about proportions, Radhika recommends following the plate method. “Half of your plate should be vegetables. They can be grilled, steamed or cooked to your liking. One quarter of your plate should be starch–like potatoes, rice, roti or even sabudana. The remaining quarter should have protein like beans, legumes, quinoa, paneer, eggs or meats.”
Good practices to follow for healthier living
“People tend to eat a big snack at around 5:30pm which is actually the perfect time for dinner. But if you’re going to be eating late, make sure it’s something light like a dal soup or cooked legumes with vegetables. Liquids tend to exit the body quickly.”
“Hydration plays a really big role in your skin, hair and overall health because it flushes out toxins from the body. If the body doesn’t get enough fluids, it retains water in places you don’t want it to like your face and stomach. To fix this, have coconut water, it’s a great source of natural electrolytes.”
“If you do give in to binge-eating, don’t let the guilt eat you. Try and get back to your routine the next day. Reduce your meal portions just a little so your stomach can recover from all the refined and processed foods it has had to digest.”
“Tea and coffee are both sources of caffeine and can dehydrate you so make sure you rehydrate your system.”
“Collagen is naturally made by the body but it’s production declines as you age. Collagen supplements will helps the body recover faster after a workout, make skin tauter and more radiant. Consult your nutritionist or a dermatologist before taking any supplements.”
Photographs: Radhika Karle