One of the biggest components of aging well is healthy eating. Though healthy eating is important during every phase of our lives, our nutritional needs change as we age.
A Rainbow Of Vegetables & Fruit
In many ways, the vibrant colors of vegetables and fruit are Mother Nature’s nutrition label.
Red is a natural plant pigment created by Lycopene – a powerful antioxidant.
Orange and yellow veggies and fruit get their color from essential carotenoids like lutein and beta-carotene (which the body converts into vitamin A). Add to this, orange natural foods deliver a lot of vitamin C.
Blue and purple fruits and veggies get their pigment from anthocyanin – one of the flavonoids proven to be packed with antioxidants.
Green fruit and leafy vegetables get their color from chlorophyll which absorbs sunlight for molecules that deliver essentials like vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, folate and fiber.
One serving of green leafy vegetables daily protects against the age-related decline in brain function.
You can eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables year round because, when it comes to vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, frozen is as good as fresh.
Milk & Dairy For Stronger Bones
Dairy foods deliver calcium which is essential to bone health as we age. These days, many dairy products are fortified with vitamin D which helps slow down age-related bone loss and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Milk and yogurt also deliver a high dose of potassium which is essential for muscle health and this includes the most important muscle in the human body – your heart.
Whole Grains – Life Extenders
Making the switch to whole grain breads, pasta, and cereals can lower the risk of death from virtually all causes by a whopping 15%.
Whole grains lower blood sugar levels and help prevent type-2 diabetes because we digest them more slowly than refined white-flour products. They also help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. Loaded with fiber they’re a good source of all the B-vitamins plus essential minerals including iron, magnesium and selenium.
When you go shopping, look for foods made with whole grains like:
- Whole-wheat flour
- Rye flour
- Brown rice
Lean Meats & Poultry Deliver Protein
Whenever you eat meat or poultry, make sure it’s lean. Any layers of fat you can see are saturated fats which raise your bad cholesterol.
In addition to protein, lean meats deliver complex B-vitamins, iron and zinc. Lean poultry (without the skin) is a good source of selenium, vitamins B3 and B6, plus choline.
When it comes to portion size, a good rule to follow is eating an amount that equals the size of your fist.
Fish – A Rich Source Of Omega-3s
Eating fish provides you with a good source of protein without the risk of consuming high levels of saturated fat.
Oily types of fish like salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, trout and sardines, are high in Omega-3 fatty acids which are essential to a healthy heart.
Omega-3s help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
Keep in mind, since our bodies don’t produce Omega-3 fatty acids, we can only get them from the food we eat. If you don’t like to cook fish at home, make a point to order it next time you dine out.