Nutrition and exercise for seniors

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | November 21st, 2016

When looking at foods that are beneficial to the elderly population, we should look at foods that have a high antioxidant content. Free radicals are molecules within our body that cause oxidative damage. This damage can lead to a number of health risks, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and macular degeneration. Luckily there are foods available to us that are filled with antioxidants, which guard us from free radical damage. The geriatric population should focus on “super foods”, which are foods that are very nutrient dense and supply you with a variety of phytonutrients, minerals and vitamins. Below are a list of foods with these specific qualities:

Cinnamon

The spice cinnamon, originally grown in Sri Lanka, is a spice gathered from the bark of a specific family of trees known as Cinnamomum. It has been known for many centuries for its medicinal properties. Cinnamon has been praised for its ability to reduce cholesterol, both triglycerides as well as bad cholesterol. Its effectiveness can be compared to cholesterol-lowering medications like statins. The other benefit of cinnamon consumption is increasing the body’s insulin sensitivity and reducing overall blood sugar levels. This super food would be especially beneficial to the elderly in addressing these concerns. 

Flax Seed

Flax seeds are a perfect addition to any seniors diet. They contain the miracle nutrient, omega-3 fatty acid. This fatty acid is able to fight off diseases like arthritis, cancer and heart disease because of its ability to reduce inflammation. The most effective way to pull out all of the nutrients from the seeds is to first crush them–you can either use a pestle and mortar or there are more mechanical options available. Just add it to a salad, smoothie, juice or cereal and the nutrients will seep in.

Spices And Herbs

Rosemary, ginger and garlic are easy and delicious to add to a senior diet. Ginger adds a nice spicy flavor to tea, juice and smoothies, while also being a great immune booster that helps individuals avoid and treat colds and infections. Garlic, also an immune booster, has both anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties. Rosemary has a wide array of benefits associated with it, including everything from stimulating circulation and detoxifying the body to relieving pain and improving mood. Both garlic and rosemary can be added to most lunch and dinner options in a variety of forms, giving extra flavor and a healthy dose of nutrients.

Beans

Legumes, in general, have been found to be rich in protein, vitamins, fiber and phytonutrients. However, red beans are some of the most beneficial beans available. They are loaded with more antioxidants than most vegetables and fruits. They are known to be a good sustaining source of energy throughout the day, while keeping the blood sugar stable. Beans, as well as lentils, are perfect for the elderly, especially those suffering from diabetes.  

Blueberries

These berries are known for their great taste and their richness in antioxidants. They provide the diet with fiber, as well as compounds known as flavonoids. These compounds have been shown to be tremendously rich in antioxidants and beneficial cell signalling pathways. The blueberry has been shown to fight specific diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, which are common among the geriatric population and would be a good addition to the diet. 

Tomatoes

The fruit of the tomato plant, which is part of the nightshade family, contains a very interesting antioxidant known as lycopene. Lycopene is a plant chemical which has been shown to reduce the risk of cancers of the intestinal tract, including prostate cancers, and is therefore ideal for the elderly diet. To help it maintain its full level of nutrients, avoid putting this fruit in the refrigerator. It is most nutritious when left out in a room temperature environment.

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