As we grow older, it becomes increasingly important to make healthy food choices. Energy levels, weight control and proper digestion are just a few things that depend on us eating right. Feeling super starts with eating super.
It’s important to eat foods that properly nourish your body without adding unwanted calories. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and other foods will add “punch” instead of pounds! With a superfood-rich diet, the only fat you really need to worry about is the good kind: Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in avocados, kale and salmon.
Benefits for Your Whole Body
Eating the right foods has a positive impact not just on your waistline but on your heart, digestive system, bones, immune system and more. Did you know that pumpkin seeds, for instance, are good for your heart? That pomegranates fight LDL or bad cholesterol? And that the high fiber found in steelcut oats and flaxseed has a positive effect on blood sugar levels in diabetics?
Flaxseed should be ground to get the most benefits from this super food. Olive oil offers the greatest health benefits in its first year; after that, it loses its potency. Juiced and cooked spinach has more nutrients than raw spinach–and all you need is one cup to keep your immune system strong.
A Super Mind, Too
Many seniors experience some memory or concentration loss. But real acai juice (not the kind that has more sugar than actual acai!) can help to stimulate mental function, helping seniors avoid the effects of aging on the brain. Chia seeds, too, are known to help with cognitive health. What’s more, research has shown that being in a good mood, or happy, can directly correlate to improved brain power. Well, cocoa can help to release endorphins, which leads to feelings of happiness and excitement. It also lowers blood pressure–an added benefit!
Super Foods: The ABCs…and Beyond
Eating well does not have to be restrictive. From acai juice to wheat germ, you’ll find there’s diverse foods you can enjoy and that have far-reaching effects on your health. Here’s more you should incorporate into your diet, particularly if you’re a senior:
- Asparagus: source of vitamin K and diuretic, too
- Blackberries: antioxidants, antioxidants and more antioxidants
- Cinnamon: as powerful as statin drugs in cutting cholesterol
- Dark chocolate: has as many antioxidants as some fruits and vegetables
- Edamame: good source of fiber and protein
- Flaxseed: sprinkle it on many types of foods, such as yogurt or cereal, for a quick omega-3 fix
- Grapes: plenty of heart-healthy resveratrol
- Handful of walnuts: as few as 14 contains enough alpha-linolenic acid to help keep your memory sharp
- Inflammation-fighters: garbanzo beans and red and black beans
- Kale: because you can’t have enough omega-3 fatty acids!
- Legumes: anti-inflammatory benefits
- Mustard greens: steam these cruciferous vegetables to get a good dose of vitamin K
- Nuts: vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
- Oranges: just one gives you all the vitamin C you need for the day
- Pomegranates: antioxidants reduce risk of heart disease
- Rice (brown): a great natural source of magnesium; avoid the processed fast-cooking variety
- Sweet potatoes: boost that immune system with more than 400% of a daily dose of vitamin A
- Tea (green and black): green has age-fighting antioxidants; both have been shown to help prevent hardening of the arteries
- Vitamin-packed foods: beans of almost any variety are rich in vitamins as well as fiber, protein and more
- Wheat germ: selenium for immune system health; cancer and heart disease fighter
- Yogurt: the Greek variety packs twice the amount of protein than regular yogurt
- Zzzzz: sleep. What’s this have to do with food? Nothing, but sleep is as essential as eating right for good physical health. Super foods just might help lead to a super night’s sleep: studies have shown that seniors should, among other things such as exercise, improve their mood and limit the intake of certain stimulants, such as caffeine and alcohol, to help them sleep better. Since some of the foods discussed here can improve mood and eating right would certainly help you reduce the intake of “bad” elements, then it’s quite possible that you could go a long way toward enjoying a better night’s sleep if you look to the Super Food Super Guide.
Enjoy the Full Super Foods Infographic