Elderly Nutrition: 12 Foods to Keep You Healthy
François de La Rochefoucauld, the noted French author of maxims and memoirs once said, “To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” Eating intelligently becomes even more necessary as you begin to age. It is that stage in life when your body’s nutrition needs increases. With increasing age, your body goes in a degenerative mode. The growth rate of tissues and cells becomes slow while the repairing of tissues takes place at a high rate. Intake of a well-balanced diet can enable you to stay healthy and energised in such times. Mentioned below are twelve foods that can help you to stay healthy as you age:
1. Green Leafy Vegetables
As people age, they tend to suffer from cognitive decline. Eating green leafy vegetables like spinach, turnip greens, and kale can help you combat the process of cognitive decline. Even green vegetables like broccoli can be helpful in reversing such conditions.
It’s not for nothing that people say, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’. If you suffer from high cholesterol or struggle to maintain your blood sugar levels, apples can come to your rescue. The soluble fibre in apples can help bring down your cholesterol level and even hinder the speed of glucose uptake. Apples can also increase antioxidants and potassium level in your body.
3. Fatty Fish
Fish with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acid, like salmon, sardine, mackerel, and tuna are great for your heart health and brain functioning. Omega-3 also helps to increase your bone density, thus preventing osteoporosis.
You can also get your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acid from nuts. They are also a good source of fibre, protein, and unsaturated fat (the healthy kind). Almonds, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, and pecan halves are a few good options for you.
Certain shellfish like oysters, scallops, and crabs are known to be rich in iron, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B12. Eating them as part of your diet is essential as they are beneficial for your brain functioning.
Eggs are a rich source of protein, which is a basic requirement of your body. Eggs also contain a B vitamin called choline which helps in managing stress and is beneficial for your memory as well. With increasing age, most people suffer from eyesight problems. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are two antioxidants present in eggs that can slow down such degenerative process and enable you to enjoy better eye health.
Packed with plenty of antioxidants, berries fight against the free radicals that threaten to impact your body and health. They are also a good source of fibre. Berries can help to reduce cholesterol levels. Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries are all good choices of berries.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which is a natural chemical that increases your body’s defence against prostate cancer. You can eat tomatoes in various forms, ranging from juice, paste, sauce, to even raw. But, processed or cooked tomatoes are known to release more lycopene than raw ones. Tomatoes are also good for your heart health and skin. They contain vitamin A, which helps to improve your vision and curb the development of night blindness.
Oats are packed with fibre. Poor digestion is a common health problem that impacts people in their old age. This often leads to improper bowel movement or constipation. Having oats as part of your daily diet can enable you to get rid of such health issues. Also, oats are a rich source of calcium, which is essential for your bone health.
10. Whole Grains
Whole grains enrich the body with various nutrients and fibre. Fibre plays a big role in preventing constipation or providing relief if you already suffer from this problem. One of the biggest benefits of whole grains is that they lower your risk of heart disease. Corn, wheat, and rice are the common varieties of whole grains that you can consume as part of your diet.
11. Greek Yoghurt
Greek yoghurt boasts of being full of digestion-friendly probiotics and protein. Protein provides your body with energy and is beneficial for your immune system, fluid balance, and nerves. Greek yoghurt is also high in vitamin B-12, which helps in brain functioning and red blood cells formation. Being rich in calcium, it is great for your bone health, which tends to suffer during the old age.
12. Dark Chocolate
This one is going to delight the chocolate lovers. Dark chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants and can help in lowering blood pressure, preventing heart attack, and reducing the risk of stroke. But, remember to eat it within a limit.
Old age is not about eating less or eating monotonous and tasteless food. Rather, it is about eating the right food that can help your body and mind to remain fit and fine. So, go ahead and start planning your diet by including these beneficial food items.