Maintaining a health diet is very important for anyone, but it’s especially important for active people over 60 as they age and adjust to the health challenges of an older body and mind. Many dementia care homes focus specifically on providing their seniors with a healthy diet that’s been medically approved for their needs. A good diet will give you the nutrients you need to stay healthy and happy later in life, so it’s important to start incorporating nutritious foods into your routine at an early age. Specifically, there are many ‘superfoods’ that have high levels of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants that are very helpful to seniors. Here are 10 superfoods that are essential to a senior adult diet.
Salmon is a wonderful superfood for many reasons. It’s very high in omega-3 fatty acids, which lower risk for heart disease and are essential to a balanced diet overall. Just a small quantity of salmon can be enough to make a difference in a senior’s diet. Salmon also contains vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones, as well as EPA and DHA, which are two healthy acids that are important for a balanced diet. It’s also a good source of protein that is light and easy to eat.
Garlic works as an anti inflammatory agent, which is very helpful for seniors struggling with aching joints and muscles. It also has antibiotic properties, which can help to heal infections. Garlic also tastes delicious and is very easy to add to a variety of dishes, so it’s a simple way to add these benefits into your diet.
Tomatoes contain essential antioxidants that fight cancer in the body, specifically heart disease and cancers of the digestive tract. The nutrients in tomatoes, specifically a pigment called lycopene, battle free radicals throughout the body, which have been known to cause cancer formation. Tomatoes also support strong, healthy bones, and they contain vitamins A and C, which are great for healthy hair and skin.
Whole grain cereal/oats
Whole grains are an essential source of good carbohydrates, which are crucial for maintaining a balanced diet and keeping energy levels up. Many people consume too many refined carbohydrates, which aren’t as nutritious or helpful for the body. In particular, a diet of refined grains is much more likely to lead to heart disease and diabetes than one that contains whole grains.
Whole grains are just as delicious as processed options and provide much higher nutritional value for seniors. There are plenty of cereal and oat options available that aren’t processed and are very easy to incorporate into your diet. In particular, whole grain cereals are very helpful for those with folic acid deficiencies, which are common for seniors. Look for options that have been specifically nutrient fortified.
Mushrooms, specifically crimini mushrooms, are known for their rich combination of nutrients that can benefit aging seniors. Crimini mushrooms are very high in niacin, which wards off Alzheimer’s disease and general decline in cognitive function. Mushrooms are also very high in all forms of vitamin B, which supports healthy brain function as well as general health of both internal and external organs.
For seniors who love to indulge in sweet treats, substituting dark chocolate out for more processed favorites is a great way to stay healthy while still enjoying delicious sweet flavors. Dark chocolate is very high in antioxidants, which prevent cancer, and is rich in minerals, which help keep bones strong. In particular, dark chocolate is great for preventing heart disease and diabetes, and it also can keep your mental functioning nice and sharp.
Beans have strong anti-inflammatory properties, which are wonderful for seniors who suffer from chronic pain. They also have a strong combination of vitamins and minerals which are wonderful for improving blood flow and boosting heart function in general. Beans also contain antioxidants to ward off cancer cell growth. There are many different types of beans and legumes that have these positive properties, so you can rotate between them to add some diversity to your diet.
Avocados are a very trendy food right now, but they’re also very nutritious and are a great superfood for seniors to add to their diet. They contain healthy fatty acids, which support heart health and can help lower cholesterol levels. These fatty acids can also help reduce inflammation in the body. They also are loaded with fiber to support a regular digestive tract, and they contain high amounts of potassium, which is excellent for muscle strength. There are plenty of great ways to eat avocados – sliced up, mashed and spread on toast, or even in a yummy guacamole dip.
Sweet potatoes are an absolutely incredible food for seniors, because they’re loaded with nutrients that prevent disease and support healthy body and brain functioning. They contain antioxidants to prevent cancer and other diseases, and they are very high in vitamins A and C, which support healthy skin, hair, and eyes as well as being an excellent anti-inflammatory. Sweet potatoes are also an excellent way for those with diabetes to get carbohydrates because they are very low on the glycemic index and thus will help keep your levels healthy.
Blueberries are one of the foods with the highest antioxidant levels in the world, and they also happen to be delicious and easy to eat, making them a wonderful superfood for seniors. Anthocyanins are the active antioxidant ingredient in blueberries, and they do everything from supporting healthy brain functioning to reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and uniquely, urinary tract infections. They also are extremely high in vitamin C to support healthy external organs, as well as being very dense in dietary fiber, which supports digestive tract health. They really boost the immune system and even help to give you some of that youthful glow back.
It’s very important for seniors to manage their diet as they age. The materials that are put into the body are really reflected in overall health and well-being. As seniors transition into retirement and eventually into assisted living, it’s very important that they consult with a doctor to create a diet plan and get other senior living help. Managing a healthy diet can add years onto an already long and happy life.