Healthy aging: Fighting low metabolism, spicy rebellion, hormones and other body changes – The Spokesman Review

Healthy aging: Fighting low metabolism, spicy rebellion, hormones and other body changes – The Spokesman Review

Aging brings on the inevitable, like wrinkles and gray hair. Inwardly, advancing years cause other unwelcome changes, but you can put up a fight.

Suddenly, you can’t eat spicy foods. Your metabolism hits the brakes. It’s tougher to lose weight. Yes, this happens with age as the organs get older and we slowly lose muscle mass, among other factors.

“Things start to happen actually in our 30s, and especially if someone is less active,” said Jen Ropp, a MultiCare registered dietitian and nutritionist. That’s because muscle loss starts during that 30s decade, but changes get more dramatic in our 50s, she said.

“We lose percentages of our metabolism pretty significantly between our 30s and 80s.”

“Even weight gain itself can start to change how we metabolize and absorb different pieces of what we consume. It’s even more important to pick foods high in nutritional value because we want to make sure we’re able to absorb the nutrition we need.”

The Mayo Clinic concurs in its article “Aging: What to Expect,” ranging from weight gain to digestive changes. “How your body burns calories (metabolism) slows down as you age,” the report says. “If you decrease activities as you age, but continue to eat the same as usual, you’ll gain weight.”

To offset the slide, consider how much and what you eat because most people require fewer daily calories by their 60s, 70s and 80s for the body’s functions, Ropp said. Staying active helps, as well.

Lactose or spicy rebellion

The small intestine produces lactase, an enzyme that helps break down lactose, the milk sugar. As the small intestine ages, sometimes it can’t make the same amount of lactase it used to, Ropp said. That tends to run in families, too.

Ask your doctor if you suspect a new dairy sensitivity causing digestive issues, or to rule out anything more serious, according to the Mayo Clinic. If confirmed, you might have to use reduced lactose dairy products or consume lactose-free.

When spicier foods object, that also can be the digestive system’s aging. It’s easy to forget that internal organs also age, impacting how our body absorbs and uses food, Ropp said. Eating a healthier diet overall can help. We have stomach acids and enzymes that help break down food and move things along, she added, but the digestive system doesn’t make as much of those in senior years, so food can build up in your stomach – and hence reflux.

“Also, you sometimes can’t handle eating as much at one time,” Ropp said. “You might have been able to eat that full Mexican meal and had no trouble when you were younger because your younger stomach could handle digesting that much at once. But as you get older, your stomach just like everything ages and isn’t as able to keep up.”

Ways to help counteract include eating more foods with fiber, considering probiotics and decreasing the amount of inflammatory foods you eat, such as fatty meat, to keep gut tissues healthier longer. “Take in more foods with soluble fiber like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.”

The Mayo Clinic added that age-related structural changes …….


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