Staying healthy in your 20s is strongly associated with a lower risk of heart disease in your middle age—this is a fact that has been continuously established by a slew of studies over the past few years. Most people who adopt good habits in their 20s such as maintaining a lean body mass index, moderate alcohol consumption, no smoking, a healthy diet and regular physical activity are bound to stay healthy well into their 50s.
So, we spoke to Rohit Shelatkar, VP at Vitabiotics and a Fitness & Nutrition expert to get a better understanding of the lifestyle one should follow when in their 20s and top tips he’d suggest for everyone in their 20s. Here’s what he had to say:
The reality is that most young adults today are tethered to their digital devices and spend long hours at work. In fact, based on a survey that studied 51,896 individuals in the US through a period of 10 years, adolescents between the ages of 12-19 spend 8.2 hours per day sitting and adults over the age of 20 spend 6.4 hours per day sitting. These numbers are concerning considering sitting for long hours has been associated with a volley of health problems, and it is what health experts are calling the ‘new smoking’.
In addition to this sedentary lifestyle, young adults face several other pressures that emanate from family, jobs, and society that further lead them to alienate their health. It is thus imperative that young people focus on their physical well-being. Below are the top five nutritional rules for those in their 20s to follow.
1. Balanced Intake Of Protein
Whether it is chicken or paneer, protein is an essential building block for our bodies. Especially for young adults who are still growing and often burning the candle at both ends. Protein is an essential fuel that helps the body to gain strength and muscle mass.
2. Calcium-Rich Foods
One should think of their 20s as a time of ‘investing’ in health; what you eat in your diet now can have a direct impact on the state of your health during the next decades of your life. Calcium-rich foods help to strengthen the bones and this will help keep you active for the next 60 years. Calcium-rich foods include sesame seeds, leafy dark greens, oranges, broccoli, milk and yoghurt.
3. Hormone-Balancing Foods
Due to high levels of stress among most young people who are working hard to balance their nascent careers and their personal lives, hormone levels can be negatively impacted. This is especially true for young women who are at risk of facing PCOS and other menstrual disorders. In order to maintain a hormone-friendly diet, include foods such as blueberries, yoghurt, walnuts, and oatmeal in the diet.
Many women in their twenties face iron deficiency, especially if they have heavy bleeding during their menstrual cycles or are pregnant. Iron is an essential component to have healthy red blood cells and without it, there is a risk of anaemia and consequent fatigue. Foods that are good to boost iron levels in the body include dried beans, egg yolks, chicken liver, lean red meat, poultry, salmon, tuna, oysters, almonds, tofu and whole grains.
5. Ample Sleep, Exercise & Stress Reduction
The importance of good sleep is often underestimated. It isn’t uncommon for people in their 20s to think of sleep as expendable and often go about their day with less than adequate sleep. However, sleep helps to combat stress and heal the body of physical and mental exhaustion. With the help of apps, it’s become extremely easy to access various stress reduction and sleep amplification techniques.
In addition to all the above dietary changes, it is imperative to incorporate physical activities such as meditation, yoga, long walks, dancing and cycling into one’s daily routine. Physical activity helps to burn excess calories and lower adrenaline levels in the body. During your early 20s, metabolism churns at full speed, so having a few extra treats and not exercising isn’t going to make a difference to your body immediately. Unfortunately, as we age, metabolism slows down and the only way to accelerate it is with exercise. Hence, it is important to start early and establish a pattern of good habits for when you really need them!
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