Eating nutritious food is important at all stages of life, but healthy food for those 50 and up is particularly important. As people age, their bodies become less efficient at absorbing nutrients from food. This is why eating a healthy diet is so important for seniors. Eating nutrient-rich foods helps to ensure that the body gets the nourishment it needs to function correctly and for a person to live a healthy lifestyle. These seven healthy foods all seniors should be eating are particularly beneficial for good health.
At Buckner Retirement Services, we offer premier living communities with nutritious meals that promote an active, healthy lifestyle. Learn more and get started in one of our Texas communities by calling 214.227.7182.
7 Healthy Foods for Seniors
These are healthy foods that all seniors should be eating because of their ability to manage chronic health conditions, improve daily living, and delicious flavors.
Most people know that a healthy diet is not complete without fruit. Fruits are especially important for seniors because they contain essential vitamins and minerals. Fruits also naturally include a range of antioxidants that can work wonders for the body and even decrease the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Eating vegetables is critical to maintaining an overall healthy and balanced diet. Vegetables can help ward off chronic disease and boost the immune system, enabling it to fight germs and diseases better. Regularly consuming vegetables has also been shown to reduce the risk of severe diseases like heart disease, stroke, heart attack, and even some types of cancers. Vegetables aid in nutrient absorption as well, especially fiber and potassium, which most seniors do not get enough of.
3. Lean Protein
Protein is vital to a balanced diet, but not all protein is created equal. Protein that is heavily processed or high in fat can cause weight gain and contribute to poor heart health. Lean protein, on the other hand, can help lower blood pressure and has been shown to balance good cholesterol levels. Eating a few portions a day of chicken or fish should be a staple in every senior’s diet.
4. Whole Grains
Whole grains have been part of a healthy human diet for centuries. In recent years, grains have earned a bad reputation due to low-carb diet trends. However, whole grains contain significant sources of fiber, iron, potassium, and other crucial nutrients. Examples of common whole grains include:
- Wild rice
Whole grains are versatile and can be incorporated into just about any meal.
Beans, pulses, and lentils are an often overlooked food type but rich in several nutrients, including protein, iron, fiber, calcium, and potassium. Some seniors are on supplements for these nutrients when often they can be found in beans. Beans are also low in fat and can be conveniently added to daily recipes as a meat substitute or as their own delicious creation. Many cuisines utilize beans as staple ingredients in dishes like:
- Refried beans – Popular in Mexican cuisine, beans are cooked twice in healthy fats and often flavored with garlic, onion, chiles, cumin, and oregano. Refried beans are a staple side and main ingredient in burritos, tacos, and fajitas.
- Pasta fagioli – This classic Italian soup is a favorite of many seniors and easily made with onions, garlic, parsley, celery, carrots, canned tomatoes, cannellini beans (or other white beans), ditalini pasta, and broth.
- Falafel – A popular Middle Eastern dish typically made from ground chickpeas, onion, garlic, lemons, and spices like cumin. Falafel is usually deep-fried but can also be baked to reduce fat content.
- Daal – Daal is a spicy, curry-like Indian dish made from lentils. It is often served with rice and can be spot on for a balanced meal.
Adding more legumes to your diet can be a healthy and exciting way to try new things.
Some consider nuts an indulgent snack, but nuts have several health benefits and make great healthy food for ages 50 and above. Nuts contain protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Since the body is slow to process nuts and their fats, nuts also help regulate food intake and help the body burn energy efficiently. They are heart-healthy and help protect against heart disease as well.
7. Fat-Free or Low-Fat Dairy
While dairy products like ice cream and whole milk aren’t recommended as part of healthy eating for those over their 50s, low-fat dairy foods have many benefits. Rich in nutrients, low-fat dairy foods provide high amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin B12. Look for products fortified with vitamin D, as they help the body absorb calcium intake.
Learn More About Healthy Eating for Seniors at Buckner Retirement Communities
Residents will find these healthy foods all seniors should be eating regularly incorporated into meals served at Buckner Retirement Services. We understand healthy eating for seniors, and nutrition is a top priority in all our meals. The Buckner Retirement Services team is proud to offer seniors various healthy food options that are perfect for those over 50. Our meals provide the nutrients seniors need to maintain their health and well-being, and we are always happy to answer any questions about our menus. Contact us today at 214.227.7182 to find out more about the living options and healthy lifestyle at Buckner Retirement Services.