5 Best Foods for Senior Health
When people are younger, they tend to be open to trying new foods and cuisines. As people age, they are more set in their ways. If you don’t have much of an appetite, you might as well fill your plate with the foods you love, right?
If you’re not eating a colorful, well-balanced diet, it’s likely that you’re not getting all of your nutrients. A healthy diet is important at any age because it can reduce your risk for developing certain diseases, maintain a healthy weight and promote your overall health and well-being. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to sneak some nutritious foods into your diet.
Below are the top five foods for senior health.
All berries are good for the body, but blueberries are even more so. A 2012 study in the Annals of Neurology found that people who regularly eat blueberries have a slower rate of cognitive decline compared to those who don’t. It is believed that blueberries contain anti-inflammatory compounds that boost parts of the brain that are responsible for memory and learning. So, sneak those berries into smoothies, oatmeal and frozen yogurt, or eat them plain.
Avocados contain healthy fats and can help you lower your bad cholesterol. Plus, they are pretty tasty! You can add avocados to many of your favorite foods, such as salads, tacos and eggs. Guacamole is another easy way to sneak these healthy fats into your diet, just be sure to go easy on the chips. Here is one of our favorite recipes for heart-healthy guacamole.
3. Greek Yogurt
Many seniors don’t get enough protein, and this is a problem. Protein helps preserve muscle mass and is needed to produce enzymes, hormones and other chemicals. Although meat is usually recommended for protein, this is not the only source. Greek yogurt contains this macronutrient and is usually palatable for older adults. Start with the vanilla flavor or stir in fresh fruit, and if you love it, you can try the plain varieties that contain less sugar.
4. Leafy Greens
Dark, leafy greens are incredibly important to your health. They support bone health, prevent inflammatory diseases and contain high levels of antioxidants. Some of the best greens to add to your diet include spinach, kale and romaine. Typically, people find that sauteing spinach is more palatable than eating it raw, but feel free to experiment. Salads can be topped with olive oil dressing, crumbled cheese and other veggies for added flavor.
5. Mixed Nuts
All nuts are heart-healthy, though some contain higher levels of potassium, magnesium and protein than others. Research also shows that eating a lot of nuts may lower the risk for heart disease and cancer. Enjoy a handful of mixed nuts or add them to salads, frozen yogurt and oatmeal.
All of these foods offer important benefits for senior health. By incorporating them into your diet, you will reap their health benefits and also open yourself up to new foods and dishes. For more information about senior nutrition, check out these Healthy Aging videos.