The Best Super Foods for Seniors6 min read
As we age, our bodies require different amounts of protein, calories, fiber, and other nutrients. For example, when we get older, we require fewer calories and more protein, but high protein diets are hard to maintain after an individual’s diet has already been firmly established over years and years of preferences. Below is a list of our favorite super foods that should be considered in seniors’ diets in order to ensure proper nutrition. Remember to consult doctors, care givers, and family before making any major adjustments to you or your loved ones diet.
Generally, the rule of thumb is to incorporate plenty of colorful fruits and veggies into a seniors diet. The richer the color, the more nutrient dense the food is. Tomatoes are packed with lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamins C, A, E, and B, as well as potassium, manganese, and other phytonutrients. We like tomatoes raw with a sprinkle of sugar, or mixed with a salad with other greens. However, if changing your loved one’s diet is proving more of a struggle than you’ve anticipated, you can also add a few fresh slices on top of a cheeseburger.
Many people are leaping for joy when seeing this listed as a superfood. However, you should take this tip with a grain of salt since many of the research findings have either not been duplicated or have not been researched enough to be considered conclusive evidence. However, the reason red wine is on our list is because of a healthy ingredient called resveratrol, which is a potent antioxidant and health compound. The proper amount of wine to drink is roughly four ounces per day, and seniors should consult with their caregivers on whether or not red wine is an appropriate super food to supplement their diet with. Seniors who suffer from addiction, depression, cirrhosis, cardiomyopathy, or hypertension should not drink red wine as it can cause adverse health benefits. And remember, that serving size was only four ounces: that’s not much! Enjoying a small glass of wine after dinner is a great way to supplement a diet with the benefits of this superfood.
Another superfood people are excited to eat, dark chocolate is packed with various health benefits. Made with the seed of the cocoa tree, dark chocolate is one of the best sources of antioxidants in the world, making it a perfect superfood for seniors. When eating a bar of dark chocolate, seniors will enjoy a rush of fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and a small amount of other minerals. A delicious way to enjoy the benefits of dark chocolate is to shave a small amount onto cinnamon- or chocolate-flavored yogurt or ice cream. Shavings of dark chocolate add subtle flavor and pack quite the nutritional punch.
Flaxseed, along with other foods high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids such as walnuts and avocados, packs a health punch for seniors. When consumed regularly and in the proper amount, flaxseed can reduce risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. For seniors, flaxseed can be implemented in smoothies, yogurt, or in soups. The seeds are flavorless and have a slight crunch, meaning they’re easy to eat and won’t change the flavor of seniors’ favorite dishes.
Oddly enough, cinnamon can be used topically or can be ingested in order to benefit from its antioxidants and other minerals. When mixed with ginger and applied topically, cinnamon can help reduce arthritis pain. When used in coffee, or as a spice on foods, cinnamon protects the heart, increases metabolism, and provides several antioxidants.
What to Avoid
Generally, the rule of thumb is for seniors to avoid raw fish, meats, and dairy. By being uncooked, fish, meat, and dairy products can contain various different bacteria that can make seniors feel nauseous or contract various illnesses. Sushi should be avoided if uncooked, and raw eggs or unpasteurized milk all possess extra levels of risk. It’s best to stick to fully cooked foods and processed dairy products in order to avoid sickness or adverse health effects.
Asking for help in caring for the senior or seniors in your life can be tough, but there’s no shame in needing an extra hand. Reach out to Optimal Home Health Care if you’re looking for someone to lighten the load this summer to talk about your options.