Top Seven Superfoods for Seniors

Written by James Flerming

Some seniors mistakenly believe that they don’t need to worry about their diet once they reach retirement age. In reality, though, the foods you consume on a regular basis contribute significantly to the quality of your life and the rate at which you age.

If you want to continue to look and feel your best (or if you want to look and feel better), start adding these seven superfoods to your diet.

  1. Blueberries

Blueberries are a great source of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps feed the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract. It can also lower your cholesterol levels and slow down your cells’ uptake of glucose. This, in turn, makes it easier to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Blueberries are also loaded with vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and many other beneficial antioxidants, including anthocyanins. Anthocyanins give blueberries their bright color, and they’re known to promote brain health and boost memory.

  1. Dark Chocolate

Who says eating healthy can’t also be delicious? Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, including flavonoids, which can protect the arteries and prevent heart attacks. Regular dark chocolate consumption can also reduce blood pressure and decrease the risk of stroke in women by up to 20 percent!

As if those benefits aren’t enough, dark chocolate has also been shown to protect the brain and act as a memory booster. To see the greatest benefits from dark chocolate, make sure it’s at least 70 percent cacao and low in sugar.

  1. Turmeric

Turmeric, the bright yellow spice that gives Indian and Middle Eastern food its rich coloring, contains an anti-inflammatory compound known as curcumin. Curcumin is a common ingredient in supplements for arthritic adults, and for good reason. It has actually been shown to help reduce inflammation just as well as (if not better than) over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen.

Add turmeric to your favorite foods or steep it in hot water to make tea. Just be sure to add some black pepper, too. One of the ingredients in black pepper, piperine, increases curcumin’s bioavailability by up to 2,000 percent!

  1. Asparagus

Asparagus is rich in the phytochemical lycopene. Lycopene is especially beneficial for senior men, as it can protect the prostate and lower one’s risk of developing prostate cancer.

That’s not to say that women shouldn’t also enjoy asparagus, though. It’s also rich in vitamin A, which is beneficial for proper immune health and eye health. It also contains plenty of fiber to promote healthy gut bacteria, lower cholesterol, and boost heart health.

  1. Broccoli

Broccoli is a great source of calcium, so it’s a great vegetable for seniors to consume if they want to ward off osteoporosis and osteopenia. It’s also rich in fiber and other essential vitamins, including vitamins A, K, C, and B9 (folate).

With all these great nutrients, broccoli is a powerhouse that can protect the blood cells, eyes, and immune system. Some research also indicates that regular broccoli consumption can help fight off certain types of cancer, including breast, prostate, liver, and colon cancer.

  1. Coffee

If you’ve been drinking a cup or two of coffee a day for longer than you can remember, don’t worry. No one’s going to tell you to put down your mug anytime soon.

Consumption of coffee — regular and decaf — has been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, and a variety of infections. It may also help protect women from breast cancer.

The only caveat? Don’t drink it too hot — high temperatures have been linked to an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer.

  1. Olive Oil

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat. Forget what you’ve been told about fat clogging your arteries and increasing your risk of heart disease. In the case of monounsaturated fats (and many other types of fat), that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Monounsaturated fats actually lower cholesterol and heart disease risk. They also help regulate insulin levels and control blood sugar to prevent diabetes.In addition to monounsaturated fats, olive oil is also full of vitamin K, vitamin E, and a compound known as oleocanthal. Oleocanthal is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can relieve pain just as well as ibuprofen.

Top Ten Healthy Habits to Help Seniors Age in Place

Written by James Fleming

If you’ve never really prioritized health before, you may think it’s too late now that you’ve retired or are about to retire. In reality, though, it’s never too late and in fact, your health matters more now than ever before.

The sooner you start implementing healthy habits, the longer you are likely live and the greater your quality of life will be. Even if you’re currently struggling with pain or an illness, these ten habits can help reduce your symptoms and allow you to continue aging in place.

1. Take a Daily Multivitamin
Micronutrient deficiencies are common among senior citizens, and the deficiencies seem to get worse as age increases. A daily multivitamin is a great tool that you can use to avoid the health risks that come from these deficiencies.

A daily multivitamin contributes to one’s overall health and is especially beneficial for days when you under eat or simply don’t eat as healthfully as you’d like.

2. Get an Annual Physical
If you’re relying on Medicare, you’re entitled to a free physical during the first twelve months. After that, you receive a free annual wellness visit.

Be sure to take advantage of these free visits to make sure you’re staying on top of your health. If you are suffering from any illness, you’ll be able to catch it earlier. Your doctor will also be able to let you know if you are at risk of developing any specific diseases.

3. Prioritize Prevention
Preventative care visits — such as health screenings and vaccinations — are almost always covered by Medicare as well. Take advantage of these screenings and vaccines to ensure you’re keeping illness at bay and catching any issues that might be present early on.

4. Let Go of What You Can’t Control
Research shows that the people who live the longest are typically those who do not dwell on the difficulties they may be facing. Being able to manage stress and let go of the things that are out of your control is good for your physical and mental well-being. Mindfulness practices like meditation, yoga, and tai chi are great for helping you improve your ability to stop internalizing things you can’t change.

5. Visit the Dentist Twice a Year
As you age, your risk of cavities increases. Mouth infections have also been linked to a variety of chronic and serious conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. To prevent these and maintain good oral health, regular dentist visits (every six months) are a good idea.

6. Keep Your Mental Health in Check
Mental health is another essential component of a high quality of life. Many seniors struggle with depression and anxiety. Work on maintaining a positive attitude and try to find friends or family members with whom you can share your worries or problems. Keeping these things bottled up will only make your depression or anxiety worse.

7. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise will also help keep depression and anxiety at bay. It’s also just good for overall health. Seniors who exercise regularly are less likely to experience falls, and, if you struggle with arthritis or chronic pain, you may also find that it helps alleviate your symptoms.

8. Eat a Healthy Diet
Taking a multivitamin is important, but remember that it’s a supplement — it shouldn’t replace your consumption of fruits, vegetables, and high-quality animal products. To maintain your health and age in place, a healthy and balanced diet is essential. Be sure to also drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.

9. Get Plenty of Sleep
Many seniors struggle with insomnia or poor quality sleep. Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool to promote better rest. You can also use natural sleep aids to help you get plenty of shut-eye (prescription sleep aids should be a last resort, as they can cause dizziness and increase your risk of falls).

10. Stay Connected
Finally, make sure you’re spending time with people you love on a regular basis. Friends, children, grandchildren — they all can help you feel connected and make it easier for you to maintain a positive attitude. This, in turn, will lengthen your lifespan and improve your quality of life.

Should You Continue to Invest After Retirement?

Written by Becky Wilcox

How much money is enough for retirement? Although that’s a common enough question, the answer may surprise you. Any number you come up with for your lifestyle will be something of an educated guess. In other words, it’s unlikely to be accurate. While it would be wonderful to establish a figure that defines a comfortable retirement, there is one problem with coming up with anything close to an accurate reckoning: the goal post keeps moving. Some variables that confound any calculation is that the rate of inflation, the cost of living, and confidence in the social security system keeps changing. In addition, with medical science making rapid advances every year, your chances of longevity keeps improving.

It’s unrealistic to simply hope to stockpile enough money to live out your retirement years. Rather than hoping you won’t outlive your money, it makes more sense to continue to generate passive income during your retirement years. Some investment vehicles that would be a good option for continuing to invest in your retirement years include precious metals, real estate investment trusts, dividend-paying stocks, US Treasury notes and bonds and Treasury inflation-protected securities.

Gold Bullion

When you invest in gold bullion, you’ll be joining a trend that has become increasingly popular during the last decade as the US debt has increased at an alarming rate. With the US national debt rising by an average of $3.8 billion a day and government borrowing at the rate of $5 billion every single business day, faith in the stability of the US dollar has been shaken. Consequently, gold is seen as a hedge against hard economic times.

People who are interested in gold bullion find it easy to buy and sell gold and appreciate the accuracy with which gold content can be verified after purchase. They believe that investing in gold has significant upsides in an uncertain economy.

Real Estate Investment Trusts

When you buy Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), you make money as a shareholder. REITs make money by purchasing property and then renting, leasing, and selling them. REITs are made available to the public through IPOs, or initial public offerings. After your purchase, you will be pleased to observe that 90% of a REIT’s taxable income is regularly distributed to shareholders like you.

Dividend-Paying Stocks

When you buy stocks, you will receive dividend payments. The best way to make money from your investments in stocks is to find companies that have developed an excellent reputation for increasing their dividend payments every year. These companies will continue to pump money into your bank account year after year. And, of course, as you add more shares to your portfolio, the more money you’ll make.

Municipal Bonds

When you buy municipal bonds, usually refer to as “munis,” you are lending a government entity money. A muni, then, is a debt obligation issued by a government entity to fund its diverse projects. In exchange for your loan contribution, you will receive a fixed number of interest payouts over a predetermined schedule.

U.S. Treasury Notes and Bonds

When you buy U.S. Treasury notes and bonds, you will be paid interest on a discount bond upon maturity. This is a bond that you can buy for less than its face value. You will then be paid the full value of your bond when it matures.

Treasury Inflated Protected Securities

When you buy Treasury inflated-protected securities, otherwise known as TIPS, you will benefit from inflation protection. The primary disadvantage of TIPS is that you will earn a lower interest rate than if you were to buy other types of government securities or if you were to buy credit securities. In addition, your tax bill will be higher.

In conclusion, you should continue to invest in your retirement years. Although you might expect to only spend a third of your retirement savings to cover your living expenses, this evaluation may not be accurate. In reality, much of your savings will be used to cover costs that you had not anticipated. For instance, the rise in the cost of medical expenses may be much higher than you could have predicted.