6 Top Tips For Good Nutrition at Midlife by Nutritionist, Sarah Brereton

Aisling Grimley.

I always love to hear from the experts so I asked Naturalife's Nutritionist Sarah Brereton to share her top 6 Nutrition No-Brainers with us in advance of our Masterclass which looks at optimum nutrition at 40 and beyond.

Sarah's 6 Top Nutrition No-Brainers

1. Eat protein at every meal

Protein should be added to each meal to slow the rate at which the stomach empties its food into the next part of the digestive system, and will help slow down the breakdown of carbohydrates. Eg have a handful of almonds with a piece of fruit or a nut butter coated on apple chunks or seeds mixed into yogurt or porridge. As soon as you add protein to your Carb’s you change it into a slow-releasing carb.

This will help to maintain blood sugars to stop craving for simple sugars and therefore prevent unhealthy food choices.

2. Savour your meal and chew well

Our stomachs don’t have teeth! This is very true, we need to chew our foods well and present it to out digestive system in a semi liquid state called chyme. The first part of digestion takes place in the mouth and this sends signals to the rest of the digestive system to get ready for the arrival of chyme. If we don’t chew properly this compromises this stage which can lead to bloating, fermentation of food in the gut, food intolerances and lots of other issues. Udo’s choice Digestive enzymes can help bloating, indigestion and feeling of food sitting in the tummy like a ‘ball’.

Also another advantage of chew food slowly is that it prevents overeating.

The satiety receptors in our brain are activated after 20 minutes of eating. If you devour your food you can actually eat a large amount of food in 20 minutes so slow it down- your body will thank you!

Think about the food you are eating and try to not be distracted by TV, computers etc. Food preparation evokes the senses (-think of the smell produced as you prepare a casserole at home) and this gets the digestive juices flowing which will help digestion.

3. Take milk thistle and cleanse your liver

I recommend this herb for everybody at different stages, but it is exceptionally important for women with hormonal issues- PMS and Perimenopausal issues. Our Liver is a busy place and everything we eat, drink, perfumes, household chemicals and environmental pollutants have to be broken down and processed by our liver as well as storing Vitamins and other molecules. Like the filter on our car we need to ‘service’ and clean it. Our body is supposed to break down ‘old’ hormones to be eliminated from the body in the bowel but if it’s clogged they cannot be eliminated. The body is thrifty and will keep these old hormones and recirculate them- giving us lots of symptoms and fluctuating hormonal levels. I advise taking Irish Botanica Organic Milk thistle up to 4 times a year. Take in some water first thing in the morning or before bed.

4. Include Essential fatty acids in diet

These oils are found in seed, nuts, fish and Krill oil. They are essential because we cannot make them and must take them in the diet. Omega 3 fatty acids have huge benefits in the body. The help slow down the rate at which the stomach empties so again making carbohydrates even more slow releasing, they boost your metabolism, make you less insulin resistant and reduce inflammation.

Try avocado chopped on toast, hummus on crackers, Udo’s oil added to salad dressings, crushed seeds added to porridge, fish cakes and salad.

Also during Menopause Cleanmarine® Menomin is the ideal food supplement to increase your levels of key nutrients required for Women’s health at the Perimenopause.

5. Eat every 4 hours to prevent dips in energy and stop eating simple sugars

If we leave longer gaps between our meals, our body will think it’s a famine and release different hormones like cortisol to cause our metabolism to slow down and store fat. This will also cause symptoms like cravings, feeling light- headed and been irritable which in turn causes us to reach for the sweets and biscuits and start the whole cycle off again. Even if you don’t feel hungry try to train yourself to have a snack with you. A healthy seed bar, homemade bounce ball, Powergreens® smoothie.

The ideal would be five smaller meals (or three meals and two snacks) rather than three big meals only.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that simply switching to eating every three hours can reduce the damaging effects of cortisol by 17% in just two weeks.

When you make this switch you will feel more energy, less cravings, less mood swings.

6. Take time out for you, Buy a new lipstick, or go for a walk with a friend-

Try to reward yourself with other things than food. It builds an unhealthy relationship with food. Buy a new lipstick or scarf as a treat. Also stick to the 80:20 rule. Eat well 80% of the time and you can treat yourself 20% of the time. It has to be a plan that will fit into your everyday life too.

Come along to our next Event!

If you'd like to hear more from Sarah Brereton and our panel of top experts - please join us at The Merrion Hotel, Dublin on Thursday 13th October. Full details here.

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