Maintaining a healthy overall diet is an essential element to remaining healthy as we age. But consuming these five superfoods can help kick physical health and cognitive functioning up to the next level in seniors. These delicious foods help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, while protecting vision and improving skin, help boost the immune system, and enhance cognitive functioning. Here are some recommendations for superfoods for seniors.
Like other blue or purple-tinted foods, such as eggplant, and purple potatoes, blueberries are rich in antioxidants that eliminate age-accelerating and cancer-causing free radicals in the body. A study by Tufts University showed that the dark pigment in blueberries (anthocyanins) combat oxidative stress, which is a major contributor to aging. They also found that blueberries can help fight memory loss. Since blueberries are a fruit and contain fructose, it’s best to consume them in moderation. Eating lots of fructose can cause your insulin levels to spike.
Chocolate lovers, rejoice! The cocoa powder used to make chocolate is abundant with flavonoids, which lower the risk of high blood pressure, Type-2 diabetes, and kidney disease. Up to 20% of the compounds in cocoa beans are flavonoids. Studies even support the idea that chocolate can also reduce the risk of dementia. One study from the Sansom Institute for Health at the University of South Australia concluded that people who ate chocolate once a week had better mental performance than those who did not. Dark cocoa drinks have also been shown to improve blood vessel function in diabetics. Look for chocolate that has at least a percentage of cocoa/cacao of 70 or higher. The more bitter the better.
Good Fats and Nuts
Good fats, such as olive oil and avocados, contain monounsaturated fats that fight heart disease and cancer, while also promoting brain health. Olive oil is delicious in salads or with pasta. Nuts are rich in unsaturated fats, which protect against heart disease, and Type-2 diabetes. Nuts also help protect against age-related memory loss. Have a handful as a snack, paired with a glass of red wine, which contains resveratrol which can help slow cellular aging. Avocados are also delicious in salads, in omelettes, or as a snack dip. Nuts, avocados, and olive oil are also high in calories, so they should be consumed in moderation.
Salmon and Other Cold-Water Fish
Salmon and other cold-water fish are rich in Omega-3, an essential fatty acid that the body cannot produce on its own. Omega-3 fatty acids lower bad cholesterol levels. Omega-3 acids also contain carotenoids, which protect eyesight and help fight the visible signs of aging. Omega-3 acids also help decrease brain fogginess. Always opt for wild-caught salmon over farmed salmon.
Tomatoes are packed with lycopene, which helps protect the body against several types of cancer, including colon, lung, skin, and prostate cancer. Tomatoes also lower the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, and help reduce the risk of heart disease. Eat them in salads, in omelettes, or in salsa – or just enjoy them freshly sliced.
Eating these superfoods represents a delicious way of maintaining good health and optimal brain functioning as seniors age.
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