The Healthiest Meals You Can Eat as You Age
While it is true that our body changes as we get older, there are many things that we can do to stay healthy. And, of course, a balanced diet and regular exercise are on top of the list. These two are very important no matter what your age is.
For seniors, it is normal for their bodies to start to weaken. But this does not necessarily mean that there is nothing you can do to maintain your strength even if you are over the age of 65. Ginette Benard and Ernestine Shepherd are just two of the many seniors who have proven to the world that age is just a number. It is not the measurement for fitness.
If you want to stay strong, you should pay more attention to nutrition. Here are the important components of a healthy diet that you should know of:
Antioxidants play an important role in managing cell-damaging free radicals. They are the key to long-lasting youth. This is exactly the reason why you see lots of advertisements for dietary supplements and cosmetic products that contain antioxidants.
The truth is, there is nothing better but to eat food items that contain antioxidants. Examples are strawberries, dark chocolate, artichokes, pecans, spinach, raspberries, red cabbage, kale, and many more.
Vitamins and Minerals
Seniors need vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K. Minerals like calcium, chloride, potassium, iron, iodine, selenium, and zinc are also equally important. Sure, you can find a bunch of products on the store shelves claiming that they contain the highest number of vitamins and minerals. But still, the best source of vitamins and minerals is the food that you eat on a daily basis. In short, you should indulge in fruits and vegetables, which are naturally choke-full of vitamins and minerals.
Fiber is another essential component of a senior’s diet. It helps lower cholesterol levels, making it an excellent weapon against heart disease. A high fiber diet can also help you fight different types of cancer as well as diabetes.
Foods that are rich in fiber include almonds, barley, beans, oats, walnuts, and whole grains. You can probably have whole-grain cereal topped with fruits for breakfast. You can also add kidney beans or chickpeas to your salads.
All of us need fat in our diets as it has an important function. However, you should be very careful with the type of fat that you use. Try to stay away from trans fats and saturated fats because these are detrimental to your health. Instead, go for monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids, and polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids. You can get these from olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oils, as well as salmon, trout, and herring.
Protein keeps the body strong. It also protects your muscles, organs, skin, and hormones. But then again, the source of protein is critical. Instead of indulging in red meat, whole milk, or full-fat yogurt, incorporate lean chicken, turkey breast, fish, egg whites, Greek yogurt, quinoa, beans, and legumes into your diet.
The body uses water for everything. Therefore, you should supply your body with enough water every day, preferably eight glasses daily. If you do this, you can make sure that your body is hydrated and the different organs should be able to function well.
Foods to Avoid
If there is one thing that you should avoid in your diet, that is sugar. Ice cream, cookies, and cakes are all very tempting. But at the end of the day, these food items can actually hurt you, especially during your senior years. When you go grocery shopping, read the label and stay away from those that contain fructose, corn syrup, honey, lactose, malt syrup, and other forms of sugar.
Other foods that should be avoided by seniors include fast food, deli meats, soft cheeses, and raw or undercooked meat or poultry.
Examples of Healthiest Diets
The Mediterranean diet is not just good for the younger generation but also for seniors. In fact, nutritionists and new studies touted this type of diet as extremely beneficial to older adults. It is associated with lower all-cause mortality as well as prolonged survival in elderly people.
This diet is consists of fruits, legumes, vegetables, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats.
Did you know that the world’s highest concentration of 100-year old people lives in the mountain highlands of Sardinia. And what do they eat? Low-protein diet. They also treat themselves to a glass or two of Cannonau wine every day.
A large community of Seventh-day Adventists lives in Loma Linda, California, and they follow the biblical diet which is made up of grains, vegetables, oatmeal, beans, and fruits.
Healthy eating is important at any age. But as a senior, you really have to watch what you eat if you want to stay strong and fit.