It’s no secret that our bodies deteriorate with age. Some of the activities we used to enjoy become too strenuous and some of our favorite foods we eat may not taste as good. Fortunately, there are a number of measures that can slow the aging process.
A balanced diet is one of the best steps you can take to prolong your life and stay as healthy and vital as possible.
There are certain foods that are good for any age, but have particular benefits for people over 50. They are all tasty alternatives that you can enjoy eating. Number 10 is even a dessert.
Join us to discover the 11 superfoods that will keep you looking and feeling young well into old age.
As we approach middle age, the risk of problems like type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol increases. Including beans in the daily diet is a fantastic way to reduce this risk again. About ¾ cup of beans or lentils a day is enough to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) by up to 5%. Beans can also improve blood sugar levels in people who already have diabetes.
There is an incredible variety of beans and lentils, so you are sure to find one or the other variety that you really like. If you opt for canned beans, rinse them before eating, as canned beans contain a lot of sodium.
The risk of heart disease is a health factor that increases dramatically in men over the age of 45 and in women over the age of 55. The more cholesterol-lowering foods you can incorporate into your diet, the better. Oats are ideal for this because of a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan. Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol during digestion and ensures that it leaves the body and doesn’t stay in the arteries.
Eating at least 3 grams of beta-glucan a day will reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels by 5-10%. It pays off: people who eat a lot of oats have been found to have a lower risk of dying prematurely than those who don’t. Oatmeal is a very affordable staple, so there’s no excuse not to eat it.
Lifelong apples are a fantastic staple for many reasons. Apples reduce the risk of diabetes by helping to regulate blood sugar levels. They contain an average of 5 grams of fiber which can lower cholesterol levels. In addition, apples contain quercetin, a substance known to lower blood pressure.
They are also a reliable source of vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants. However, apples are on the “Dirty Dozen” list for their pesticide residues, so if you can afford it, opt for organic produce.
It’s hard to resist a salty snack every now and then, but if it comes in the form of French fries or crackers, you’re consuming an unhealthy amount of saturated fat and sodium. Try nuts instead. Studies have shown that consuming one ounce of mixed nuts a day reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke by 28%.
They don’t have to be mixed nuts; any variety you like can work, even the much cheaper peanut. You can eat the nuts in a handful or chop and roast them to use as a crunchy topping on salads, sautéed vegetables or soufflés.
Eat Green leafy vegetables
We’ve already talked a lot about foods that improve cardiovascular and metabolic health, but what about your brain’s performance? That’s where leafy green vegetables come in. Recent research has shown that people who eat a lot of leafy greens, such as spinach, kale or Swiss chard, have cognitive abilities comparable to people 11 years younger who rarely eat these foods.
However, leafy green vegetables are not especially good with Coumadin, a blood thinner. Consult your doctor about portion sizes if you are taking this drug.
Berries of all types are another fantastic brain booster. This type of fruit is rich in certain phytochemical compounds that are believed to increase blood flow to the brain while inhibiting inflammation.
The result is a slowing of age-related memory loss and a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Berries are also great in general for their high fiber content and range of vitamins and minerals. If you can’t get fresh berries year-round; frozen ones can taste just as good.
Your brain and internal systems are working well; but what about your muscle tone? The answer to this question is to get enough protein; and yogurt (especially Greek varieties) can be a great source of it. Fat-free body mass tends to decrease as we age; and studies show that spreading your daily protein intake throughout the day can slow this process.
In addition; yogurt contains a lot of calcium; which is essential for maintaining bone density as we age. Women over 50 and men over 70 should pay special attention to their calcium intake.
Speaking of superfoods; we should be interested in carrots. This is a vegetable that can be beneficial for all parts of the body; especially the eyes; mouth; skin and heart. Carrots reduce blood pressure and bad cholesterol; strengthen the immune system; facilitate digestion and reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The reason carrots are so good for you is their unique nutritional profile; which includes fiber; vitamins A; B8; C; E and K; minerals such as iron; potassium; copper and manganese; and several types of antioxidants; including beta-carotene.
Beet is another root vegetable with a very varied nutrient composition. If you consume it regularly; you will get plenty of vitamins A and C; as well as folic acid; fiber and minerals such as calcium; potassium; manganese and iron. It is full of antioxidants that can reduce the risk of cancer.
Who’s in the mood for dessert? By no means are we telling you to give up all things sweet; but we encourage you to eat more dark chocolate. In fact; consuming 30 to 60 grams a day can lower cholesterol and blood pressure; improve brain acuity and protect your skin from sun damage (but still wear your sunscreen).
It is best to choose a chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70% for the most benefits and the lowest sugar content. This will provide you with a good daily dose of potassium; phosphorus; zinc; iron; magnesium; copper; manganese and selenium. And because eating chocolate is good for you; it releases endorphins that improve your mood.
Avocado is expensive and has recently been accused of being the reason millennials can’t afford a house (not so). But it’s also a very tasty source of nearly 20 vitamins and minerals; including potassium; copper; and vitamins B; C; E; and K.
If you eat avocados regularly; you’ll consume enough heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and be able to maintain optimal blood pressure.
Hungry yet? Most of the foods on our list can be perfectly combined into a meal that you can eat with a clear conscience. Yogurt or oat flakes mixed with berries make a very complete breakfast. For lunch; try a salad of leafy greens; carrots; avocado and toasted nuts. For dinner; eat beans and brown rice with a nice piece of dark chocolate for dessert.
Feel free to combine these 11 superfoods with other sources of lean protein; whole grains and dairy to make a balanced diet that will help you feel young and stay that way throughout your life.