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.
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.
- 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
- 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.