Consider when you were a kid, and your parents made you finish all of the fruits and veggies on your plate. While it may have felt like a drag at the time, you should already know by now that they were setting you up for a long and healthy life. Fruits and vegetables are important for everyone, especially the young and elderly. Young people need them to grow up healthier, but they play an equally important role for the elderly too. Oftentimes these superfoods play a critical role in lowering the chances of getting serious diseases and conditions late in life. These include hypertension, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and digestive issues.
We used the term “superfoods,” and that’s because these foods are considered super relative to their peers. More specifically, it means that they are all-natural (usually plant-based) and a source of minerals, nutrients, and vitamins that support healthy living. Since these foods have so many nutrients and are quite delicious, they’re perfect for those who reside in senior assisted living near me. After all, seniors often have a difficult time getting their required daily dose of niacin, essential vitamins, and folic acid.
The list below has some of the best vegetable and fruit superfoods that are easy to incorporate into a senior’s diet. However, make sure that they consult their doctor first before changing up their diet. This is especially important if you or they do not have a deep knowledge of their food allergies.
The Best Fruits and Vegetables for Seniors
This one has plenty of beta-carotene, which is crucial for eye health. It also contains lots of vitamin C. These two facts alone make this vegetable invaluable for a senior’s health since it will help to control their blood pressure. And due to its high fiber contents, it’s also an excellent veggie for keeping cholesterol and blood sugar under control.
This one is often seen as a close cousin of broccoli. It can do just about everything too. A couple of its key benefits are protecting your arteries and lowering cholesterol levels. Whether cooked or served raw, it provides high amounts of fiber and iron. Kale will also give you plenty of flavonoids and carotenoids, which are strong antioxidants that will help defend your body from chronic illnesses.
There’s a reason why parents want to get their kids to love broccoli while they’re young. It really is a miracle food. With plenty of fiber, vitamins K, A, B9, and of course C, nearly every part of your body will benefit from eating broccoli. The latest research seems to show that broccoli will also lower the risk of specific cancers. This is because of the anti-carcinogenic compounds it contains, like glucoraphanin and diindolylmethane. In addition, many of the nutrients it contains (phosphorus, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene) help prevent your eyes from getting cataracts or experiencing macular degeneration.
This veggie contains lots of lycopene (which reduces your risk of prostate cancer). Another benefit it offers is being extremely beneficial for your immune system thanks to its high vitamin A contents. And finally, the fiber in it contains something special called prebiotics. Prebiotics mainly help in promoting healthy bacteria in your gut.
Grapes have a surplus of resveratrol, which is a strong antioxidant that promotes good health for the heart. A special benefit for seniors is that the seed extract from the fruit has been seen in studies to possibly lower the rate at which Alzheimer’s disease can develop.
Here’s a fun fact about cherries. They get their redness from an antioxidant called anthocyanin. Besides giving the fruit its appealing color, it also provides it with the ability to lower both triglycerides and inflammation! And finally, it has the benefit of helping seniors keep a regular sleep schedule, thanks to the fruit’s high melatonin contents.
Like with blueberries, this fruit is a great way to get soluble fiber in your diet. An apple a day is believed to lower LDL cholesterol by forty percent. Besides that, they also contain lots of vitamin C and potassium. As you should know, vitamin C and potassium both can help you maintain good blood pressure levels. And finally, it is said that the skin of an apple is the healthiest part. You should know why that is – the skin of an apple contains an antioxidant known as quercetin. This antioxidant is a source of antihistamine, and it also has anti-inflammatory benefits.
Full of vitamin C and vitamin K, this fruit provides countless health benefits. Consuming these regularly has also been shown to keep the brain functioning properly for longer, mainly thanks to it containing a large number of flavonoids. Metabolism also benefits thanks to the high levels of manganese found in blueberries. And finally, the high fiber found in blueberries reduces cholesterol, thus maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
Creating a Balanced Diet of Fruits and Veggies
While the above superfoods are excellent choices in a well-balanced diet, the keyword is “balanced.” These foods should not be the only things that a senior eats. Thankfully, the senior assisted living near me understands this and incorporates plenty of other food options into their meal plans.
Besides balance, moderation is also important in all things, including dieting. Weight gain can still happen from over-indulging in healthier foods (especially processed ones). Also, be careful of listening to sales pitches that sound too good to be true. Always check the labels and pick the purest forms of the above foods, and avoid processed counterparts whenever possible, even if they are “technically” blueberries or whatever. A candied apple may be sweet and delicious but it can hardly be considered a healthy snack, right?
To conclude this post, we’d like to remind everybody that fruits and veggies are only one part of a healthy diet. To get your required daily nutritional intake, you must eat other things too. For more information about that, check out the website ChooseMyPlate. That website is a treasure trove of knowledge about healthy eating for all people, including seniors. It even talks about exercise too. So check it out. If all of this seems a bit too daunting, senior assisted living near me can help you or your senior loved one cover all of the bases of healthy living.