A nutritious diet is an essential part of staying healthy at any life stage. But as the body ages, certain vitamins and minerals become particularly important to maintain health and fight off age-related health conditions. Some seniors also struggle with a loss of appetite, low mobility and illness, which can all affect their ability to eat a well-balanced diet.
The great news is, there are a number of so-called superfoods packed with plenty of the nutrients seniors need to get their daily dose of goodness.
1. Dark leafy greens
Leafy greens include veggies such as spinach, kale, cabbage and broccoli. These nutritional powerhouses are packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. High doses of Vitamin K in particular help the blood to clot and can reduce bone fragility. Their high fibre content also helps to keep the colon healthy.
This tiny fruit packs a big punch when it comes to nutrition. Blueberries are filled with vitamins C and K, as well as antioxidants. In fact, blueberries are believed to have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all common fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants have been found to help protect against ageing and cancer, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and even improve memory.
3. Dark Chocolate
Older people with a sweet tooth will love this superfood. Dark chocolate is filled with antioxidants that help prevent arteries from clogging, thereby decreasing the risk of having a heart attack. Dark chocolate may also lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke. Make sure to choose dark chocolate that’s at least 70% cacao though. Regular milk chocolate, unfortunately, doesn’t have the same benefits.
Nuts, in general, are really good for your health and walnuts are especially beneficial. Walnuts contain an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, which acts as an anti-inflammatory against heart disease, arthritis, and cancer. Walnuts also help improve blood flow throughout the body. Just one serving a week can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 20%!
5. Whole grains
As we age, our digestive system gets sluggish, causing constipation that can lead to other gut issues. Whole grains that are high in fibre, such as nuts, wholegrain cereal, wholegrain bread and pasta, brown rice and quinoa promote digestion and have also been known to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Carrots contain plenty of beta-carotene, which the body converts into Vitamin A. They're also full of fibre, vitamin K1, potassium and antioxidants. Carrots have been linked to lower cholesterol levels, improved eye health and immune function, and even reduced risk of cancer.
While technically not a food, water is certainly an essential part of every diet. Seniors, in particular, are susceptible to dehydration due to irregular meals, forgetfulness and lack of thirst. Seniors should aim to drink about eight glasses of water a day.
At Totalcare, our dedicated dietician has developed a fresh, seasonal menu featuring nutritionally balanced meals prepared according to the specific dietary needs of seniors. We make sure our residents are hydrated and fed on a regular basis to optimise their health.
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