Nutrition is always important, but it’s especially important for senior citizens. As we age, our metabolic needs decrease, but our nutritional needs do not. In fact, seniors actually need more protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin D, and potassium than younger people. Eating more nutritionally-dense foods has also been shown to improve quality of life in older adults (1). So make every food you eat count with the 6 best superfoods for seniors.
Number One: Blueberries
These unassuming little berries pack a big nutrition punch! Blueberries are full of antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and more (2). The soluble fiber in blueberries helps to manage cholesterol–an important part of treating and preventing heart disease. The nitric oxide in blueberries also plays a role in reducing blood pressure. And while they do contain natural sugars, eating blueberries could actually lower your blood sugar (3)! Blueberries are one of nature’s top superfoods, especially for seniors who are at higher risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Number Two: Eggs
Public opinion on eggs has gone back and forth throughout the years. For a while, the cholesterol in egg yolks made some people think that they might not be the best choice in a balanced diet. However, more recent research has shown that eggs may actually be one of the healthiest foods you can eat (4). A single egg contains vitamins A, B2, B5, and B12, as well as selenium and small amounts of almost every other vitamin and mineral you need. Almost all of these nutrients are found in the yolk, so don’t skip it out of fear of cholesterol! Eggs actually improve your cholesterol profile (5) and don’t raise your risk of heart disease. They are also super high in protein, which is especially important for senior citizens.
Number Three: Greek Yogurt
All yogurt contains probiotics, which are an important part of gut health and may help manage the symptoms of IBS and other digestive conditions (6). Greek protein tends to have less added sugar than regular yogurt, so it is often a better choice. But protein is where Greek yogurt really shines. Greek yogurt has almost twice as much protein and calcium as regular yogurt, which makes it a true superfood for seniors.
Number Four: Tomatoes
Tomatoes contain large amounts of an important antioxidant called lycopene. While the research about lycopene isn’t well understood, it may reduce the risk of prostate cancer and other types of cancer (7). Tomatoes are also a good source of vitamins A and C, which are important for eyesight and immune health.
Number Five: Beans
The humble bean has a number of surprising health benefits. They’re a fantastic source of vegetarian protein, and they may help reduce cholesterol, decrease blood sugar levels, and increase healthy gut bacteria (8). The healthiest beans include garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas), lentils, kidney beans, and black beans. Incorporate beans into your soups and salads, or try hummus as a snack to get more legumes into your diet.
Number Six: Chocolate
We’ve saved the best for last: yes, chocolate really is a superfood! Dark chocolate is the best choice, because it contains both antioxidants and surprising amounts of fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and zinc. Some studies have even shown that eating chocolate could decrease your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases (9). These nutrients come from the cocoa part of chocolate, so the darker the chocolate, the more nutritious it will be (10). But smaller amounts of these nutrients are still present in milk chocolates, too.
These 6 best superfoods for seniors will keep your health at its best, even as you get older. If you’re tired of cooking and managing your nutritional needs yourself, it might be time to check out senior living communities. Most senior living communities employ chefs and dietitian who provide round-the-clock nutritious meals full of these superfoods and much more. Considering senior living? Find a community near you today.