040222 HEALTHY AGING: How to fight low metabolism, spicy rebellion, hormones, and other body changes by Treva Lind. Part 1 of 4

Introduction of a series by both the artist Molly Quin and author Treva Lind from 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.

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