Anyone who pays attention to recent trends in health and nutrition has undoubtedly noticed an emphasis on whole foods and superfoods. The term “superfoods” can be confusing to some, since it suggests that certain foods are a magic bullet for restoring health and reversing disease. While no one food can do exactly that, certain foods are prized for their multiple health benefits.
At Home Care Assistance of Palm Beach County, we believe that seniors who wish to improve their health through holistic nutrition have as much to gain as anyone else! In fact, seniors can expect to feel better and reduce their risk for chronic health conditions by enjoying the following 5 superfoods on a regular basis:
- Soy. Seniors with high cholesterol are advised to consume soy products such as soy milk, tofu and edamame (fresh soy beans), as recent studies have shown that the plant sterols in these foods are as effective as statin drugs for lowering cholesterol. An added benefit for older women is that the phytoestrogens in soy products help to control hormone fluctuations during and after menopause.
- Whole grains. Before the advent of processed foods, no one had ever heard of diverticulitis. Sadly, this and other gastrointestinal problems, including bowel obstructions and colon cancer, are all too common among seniors whose diets are high in fatty meats and processed foods, and low in fiber from whole grains, fruits and vegetables. In addition, refined grains such as white rice and pasta are metabolized like sugars, causing blood sugar spikes and increasing one’s risk for diabetes – or for complications among those with diabetes – later in life. Fortunately, managing or lowering one’s risk for these conditions can be as simple as choosing whole-grain bread for sandwiches and brown rice instead of white for simple dinners of chicken and rice.
- Blueberries. Blueberries are high in vitamin C and antioxidants, which strengthen the immune system against pathogens as well as inflammatory processes which cause damage to soft tissue in joints and other parts of the body over time. Since blueberries are also high in potassium, they can provide an additional benefit to seniors who struggle to keep sodium and other electrolytes in check.
- Cabbage. In addition to providing fiber and similar cholesterol reduction and antioxidant benefits as the aforementioned superfoods, cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts all contain glucosinolates, which are known to inhibit cancer cell growth. Red cabbage in particular is also said to help reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s, eliminating a senior’s need for Palm Beach County Alzheimer’s care in the future.
- Tomatoes. Tomatoes add potassium and fiber to the diet and are also known for their vitamin C and lycopene content, which respectively fortify the immune system and prevent tumor growth. The lutein present in tomatoes also protects the eyes from free radical damage and improves skin elasticity and hydration. Tomatoes need not be consumed fresh to reap the nutritional benefits; the canning process actually concentrates the nutrients, so seniors can benefit just as much from a serving of tomato sauce from a jar as from a freshly picked tomato.
While it’s true that growing old is simply a part of life, no senior need ever resign themselves to being old and infirm. By regularly eating nutrient-dense foods and steering clear of refined sugar and processed “junk” foods, all seniors can successfully ward off diseases typically associated with old age and live a full, active life.
For additional tips on senior nutrition, don’t hesitate to contact the Palm Beach County live-in care experts at Home Care Assistance. Simply dial 561-429-8292 to speak with a devoted Care Manager and learn how you can help enhance quality of life for your aging parent, grandparent or loved one.