Whole grains will help you combat two things that you might be battling as you enter your 40s: 1. Increasing blood pressure (thanks to heart and artery walls thickening and stiffening over the years) and 2. A slowing metabolism (it slows by 1 to 2 percent each decade after age 30). Swapping refined grains, such as white bread and rice, for whole grains (whole wheat bread, brown rice, oats, quinoa, etc.) will help you get more fiber and research suggests that adding fiber to your diet will help you prevent weight gain—or even encourage weight loss. Other studies suggest that whole grains help the body hang on to potassium, a mineral that helps maintain normal blood pressure.
Other ways to get fiber: salad! Maximize your nutrient intake by building a vibrantly colored salad—think spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes or even fruits like raisins, oranges or strawberries. All these salad toppings offer fiber, potassium, vitamin C (which may help to keep skin firm and protect against UV rays) and antioxidants.