After all those years you spent soaking up the sun, covered by nothing but a string bikini and suntan oil, it's payback time.
Melanoma is scary, but food can help: researchers found the skin-cancer risk of people with the highest intakes of carotenoids (pigments that occur naturally in some plants) was significantly lower than in those who ate the least. "Beta-carotene is an internal sun protector," says Dr Regina Goralczyk of DSM Nutritional Products, a supplier of vitamins and other health products. "The plant pigment is transported in the bloodstream to the skin, where it is enriched and helps fight the damaging effects of sunlight." As a preventive tool, eat two sweet potatoes every week to give you plenty of beta-carotene. Other excellent sources: carrots and rockmelon.
It's taking you just a little longer to remember your co-workers' kids' names at the company picnic.
Dust off the blender and mix up this concoction for your noodle: a half cup of fortified reduced-fat milk, a cup of blackberries (or raspberries, if you prefer), a cup of cranberry juice and a handful of crushed ice. Berries and cherries are rich in anthocyanins, which have been linked to better memory - the science behind it is complicated, but researchers think they help your brain improve the way neurons communicate. The DHA-fortified milk (Dairy Farmers Farmers Best Omega 3 is good) gets you a nice dose of the omega-3 fatty acid that's been shown to decrease risk of dementia. Each ingredient protects grey matter on its own, too, so eat/drink all of them freely.
You've gone soft - in the arms, legs and bum - because your muscle mass continues to decline as you age.
Tuna. Gram for gram, it's one of the best sources of protein. Grill your way to a better body with this muscle-building recipe: brush a 100g tuna steak with olive oil, lightly season with freshly ground pepper, and place it on a pre-heated grill. Cook until medium-rare to medium, for four to five minutes per side. Meanwhile, mix 3 tbs peanut butter, 1 tbs lemon juice, 1 tbs balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp brown sugar and 2 tbs water in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Drizzle over tuna.
Even if your peepers are still 20/20, two eye conditions that can lead to vision loss - cataracts and macular degeneration - can start developing during this time. (And for reasons scientists have yet to put their finger on, women are at higher risk for macular degeneration than men.)
You may be sick of hearing that it's time to go green, but when it comes to your eyes, you don't have a choice. Broccoli, spinach, zucchini and kale all contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that act like chemical sunnies - they help protect your eyes from UV rays that can lead to these two conditions, says Judith Delgado, director of the Macular Degeneration Partnership, an online service for age-related macular degeneration sufferers (amd.org). In a 15-week study, people who ate a diet high in lutein and zeaxanthin had a higher density of macular pigments, a factor that has been shown to safeguard against macular degeneration. Studies have found that about 6mg of each daily should protect your vision. Make sure you drizzle your salad and sauté your greens with olive oil - healthy fats help your body absorb the antioxidants better.
Heart disease scores as a top-three killer of women in this age group.
Eat a handful of grapes every day. Antioxidants in red grape skins have been linked to lower LDL cholesterol and a lowered risk of clogged arteries. A glass of red wine is a winner too. In a Spanish study, scientists found that red wine significantly reduced markers of arterial inflammation. The booze also helps prevent clots, just as a daily aspirin does. Cheers!