11 health hacks for your best life after 40

When I turned 40, my firstborn, my son, had just turned one. My daughter wasn’t even a glimmer yet.

I certainly didn’t feel old. Barely middle-aged, really.

But it’s a fact of nature that decade by decade our bodies and health face more challenges. This is true for men and women.

Fortunately, science is here to tell us what we can expect, and if we’re ‘ahead of the curve,’ we can adjust based on that science to give ourselves a healthier, more vibrant life as we get older.

Forty may not seem like the time to start thinking about this sort of thing. But in fact, there are changes you can make in your forties that will keep you healthier, more energetic and more alert in your 50s, 60s and beyond.

Here are 11 small, science-based changes you can make to your eating and sleeping habits that you may not have thought of, but that will make a big difference over time.

Eat an apple before each meal

Turns out that an apple a day, or a few actually, can keep the doctor away.

A 2018 study showed that eating apples has an effect on bacteria similar to when you brush your teeth.

We already know that the buildup of plaque on your teeth can lead to gingivitis and periodontitis.

And it’s been proven that the bacteria in plaque that cause gum disease can also lead to arthritis, diabetes, kidney disease and cancer.

Start your morning with eggs

A 2008 study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that replacing the calories in a carbohydrate-rich breakfast with a similar number of calories from eggs will increase weight loss.

What’s more, the selenium found in eggs may even reduce your risk of thyroid disease (we’ll talk about how the risk of thyroid disease increases with age in just a minute).

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Add some ground flaxseed to just about anything

Oatmeal is an inexpensive, tasty way to reduce your ‘bad’ cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease. And if you add a tablespoon or two of ground flaxseed, it won’t change the flavor of your breakfast, but it will add fiber and cut your risk of colorectal cancer.

Try ground flaxseed in your smoothies, soups, sauces, nut butters and more!

Add more garlic to your meals

Eating garlic has been linked to a reduction in cardiovascular disease.

Not only that, but a 2016 study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases and Treatment showed that garlic’s antibacterial properties can help fight off staph and E. coli bacteria.

Switch one daily cup of coffee for green tea

Green tea is unique because it contains a compound known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). This compound has some unique abilities.

Out of 20 different compounds, EGCG was the only one that could block the energy supply to the cells that cause tuberculosis.

Also, research has shown that the combination of EGCG with the caffeine also found in green tea can significantly increase fat burning and help control weight.

Wait a minute before you eat that snack! Being overweight or obese in your 40s sets you up for heart disease and diabetes in your 50s and 60s.

If you need a way to avoid those high-calorie snacks, try making yourself wait just 25 seconds before you grab for that doughnut or bag of chips you’re craving.

When forced to wait it out for just 25 seconds, many people lose their craving and opt for a healthier snack instead.

Keep your phone far away from your bed

The chances of breast and prostate cancer skyrocket for men and women who sleep with the effects of blue light.

The blue light of a phone or computer will impair your body’s nighttime production of melatonin.

And we now know that melatonin is not just a sleep hormone. It also is needed to protect and stimulate our aging immune system.

Turn down the thermostat at night

Researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases found that people who slept in a 66°F room over six weeks increased their amount of brown fat, which reduces blood glucose and boosts metabolism. Brown fat actually helps you lose weight!

Let some air in

Leaving a door or window open promotes airflow and reduces levels of carbon dioxide, a known sleep inhibitor.

Use gradual light to wake up

Instead of waking up to a loud, unpleasant alarm, try using a wake-up light instead.

For subjects at a Swiss hospital, gradually waking up with a dawn simulator instead of being jarred awake by a loud noise improved their mood, mental sharpness and overall feeling of well-being.

Wash your sheets more often

As you get older and your immune system weakens, there’s no sense in exposing yourself to unnecessary germs.

Did you know that your pillowcase alone may be home to 3 million bacteria by the end of a week? That’s more than your toilet seat! Take the time to throw in that extra load of wash during the week!

Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!

Sources:

40 Tiny Health Adjustments That Can Change Your Life After 40 — BestLife

Effect of chewing an apple on dental plaque removal and on salivary bacterial viability — NCBI

Bacteria in your bed — Amerisleep

Garlic and Cardiovascular Disease: A Critical Review — The Journal of Nutrition

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Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.