Vail Daily column: Promote healthy aging with superfoods
Eating healthy at any age has many benefits to quality of life. This is certainly not new information. However, to what extent can healthy eating impact your life as you age?
For those of age of 50 and older, calorie intake awareness and proper diet can promote better digestion, elevated energy, improved focus, resistance to illness and even assist with the healing process.
WHAT ARE SUPERFOODS?
As we grow older, and often become less physically active, our metabolism slows down and our bodies need fewer calories than before. Additionally, our bodies often require different nutrients. This is where superfoods may be beneficial.
While there is no set standard or formalized list of superfoods, fish, which is high in omega-3s; whole grains; fruits; vegetables; legumes; nuts; and seeds are often included. These foods are thought to be nutritionally dense, high in fiber and packed with nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Some the best nutritionally dense and fibrous foods include: kale, watercress, collards, Swiss chard, spinach, arugula, Brussels sprouts, carrots and broccoli. These dark vegetables are loaded with vitamins A, C and K, as well as fiber, calcium and other nutrients and minerals.
Foods that have extra-large doses of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants (thought to aid in fending off many diseases and free radicals) include: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, goji berries and blackberries. Foods high in minerals and vitamins include: sweet potatoes, squash, avocados, chili and bell peppers, kiwis, papayas and mangoes, to name just a few.
For those who find themselves rushed in the morning, who have little time for lunch or who may have difficulty with their teeth, making smoothies and soups are quick and easy ways to incorporate superfoods into their daily diet.
So let’s review some of the super foods that promote healthy aging and life in general:
Fish: Salmon is often at the top of everyone’s list. These cold-water fish are high in omega-3 essential fatty oils, which can control the amount of triglycerides in your blood stream, reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) and improving HDL (good cholesterol). Other omega-3-heavy fish are tuna, sardines and mackerel.
Fruits and berries: These are packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and other nutrients. Fruits and berries are best consumed whole, fresh and unprocessed. Experts estimate that you should be eating five to nine portions of fruits or vegetables a day.
Dark greens: Most dark green vegetables are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and plant-based substances that may help protect against heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, prostate issues and perhaps even cancer.
YOUR DIET HAS TO CHANGE
There are many other foods, such as yogurt, carrots, almonds and walnuts, and even butter, that can improve the way your body processes food into nutrients. The point is, as you age, your body changes. As you change, so must your diet. The old days of eating chips before a meal, having a big steak with mashed potatoes dripping with sour cream or eating a huge bowl of pasta a couple of nights a week are gone.
Whatever your age, eating well should be all about fresh colorful food, creativity in the kitchen and eating healthy. Portions must be decreased, food groups must be represented and our attitude about foods must become healthier.
It can actually be fun to learn and try new foods. Give it a whirl!
Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. Contact him at http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns or 970-328-5526.