As you grow older, your body goes through a set of changes, which might be difficult for you to understand and deal with. You might not be as buff as you were in your younger years, your sense of sight and hearing could get affected, and you could fall prey to illnesses like osteoarthritis, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.
To reduce your risk of developing these conditions, it is necessary that you take certain steps, such as altering your diet, exercising, and changing your lifestyle. Eating the right foods is something you cannot compromise on. So, if you’re over 60, here are foods that you need to include in your diet.
Berries, especially blueberries, are famously called superfoods and no brownie points for guessing why! They are packed with antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are responsible for keeping the memory sharp. With old age comes forgetfulness, which is a normal part of aging. The antioxidants present in berries will avoid or delay the onset of age-related neurogenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.1 However, make sure you don’t eat over 3 servings of a bowlful of berries every week, as overeating can do more harm than good. 2
2. Dark Chocolate
Who says seniors can’t eat sweet treats (in this case, bitter treats)? This guilty pleasure is not only delicious but is also known to reduce the risk of heart disease. With ischaemic heart disease being the topmost cause of death worldwide, it is essential that you take steps to reduce your risk.3 Dark chocolate contains flavonoids called flavanol, which ensures cardiovascular or heart health.
A case-study performed in Italy showed that participants who consumed dark chocolate on a regular basis had a 77% reduced risk of heart disease than participants who did not.4 Although we do not know for sure how much dark chocolate is “too much,” don’t eat more than 1 or 2 squares of a dark chocolate bar every day. Also, make sure that your bar contains at least 70% cocoa.
This citrus delight is a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that prevents oxidative stress in the respiratory tract and the lungs.5 Over 3 million people die each year due to chronic respiratory illnesses, according to the World Health Organization.6 And to reduce your risk, increase your intake of citrus foods. Several studies show that vitamin C can significantly improve lung function and keep respiratory illnesses at bay.7
4. Sweet Potato
One in every three adults in America is affected by high blood pressure.8 The potassium present in sweet potato can combat the blood-pressure-raising properties of sodium. Along with fighting the negative effects of sodium, sweet potatoes also ease the tension in the walls of your blood vessels and help reduce high blood pressure.9 10 However, avoid eating potassium-rich foods if you are suffering from kidney ailments as it can aggravate the condition.
Drinking milk can increase bone strength and improve balance and physical ability in the elderly. It contains both vitamin D and calcium, thus ensuring the absorption of the latter by the body. Several people who are over 60 suffer from vertebral fractures, which often happens because the body is unable to absorb calcium.11 To avoid this, it is essential that you intake healthy amounts of vitamin D, which aids the absorption of calcium.
If you don’t have a problem with dairy, drink a glass of milk every day. Additionally, eat healthy amounts of egg yolks, fatty fish, or cheese.
Remember, eating the right food is necessary but it’s not enough. For your diet to be effective, you also need to club it with the right amount of exercise. No, you don’t have to hit the gym right away or do intense strength training workouts. Start off with simple, with 30-minute walks every day until you’re able to perform workouts that demand more stamina.12 Also, do not skip your meals – a healthy, balanced diet coupled with regular exercise is the key to a healthy you.
|↑1||Subash, Selvaraju, Musthafa Mohamed Essa, Samir Al-Adawi, Mushtaq A. Memon, Thamilarasan Manivasagam, and Mohammed Akbar. “Neuroprotective effects of berry fruits on neurodegenerative diseases.” Neural regeneration research 9, no. 16 (2014): 1557.|
|↑2||Aging Casefully: 9 Things That Happen to Your Body (Some Aren’t So Bad!). US San Diego Health.|
|↑3||The top 10 causes of death. World Health Organization.|
|↑4||Galleano, Monica, Patricia I. Oteiza, and Cesar G. Fraga. “Cocoa, chocolate and cardiovascular disease.” Journal of cardiovascular pharmacology 54, no. 6 (2009): 483.|
|↑5||Berthon, Bronwyn S., and Lisa G. Wood. “Nutrition and respiratory health—feature review.” Nutrients 7, no. 3 (2015): 1618-1643.|
|↑6||Chronic respiratory diseases. World Health Organization.|
|↑7||Ness, A. R., K. T. Khaw, S. Bingham, and N. E. Day. “Vitamin C status and respiratory function.” European journal of clinical nutrition 50, no. 9 (1996): 573-579.|
|↑8||High Blood Pressure Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑9||How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure. American Heart Association.|
|↑10||Aaron, Kristal J., and Paul W. Sanders. “Role of dietary salt and potassium intake in cardiovascular health and disease: a review of the evidence.” In Mayo Clinic Proceedings, vol. 88, no. 9, pp. 987-995. Elsevier, 2013.|
|↑11||Francis, R. M., M. Peacock, G. A. Taylor, J. H. Storer, and B. E. C. Nordin. “Calcium malabsorption in elderly women with vertebral fractures: evidence for resistance to the action of vitamin D metabolites on the bowel.” clinical Science 66, no. 1 (1984): 103-107.|
|↑12||Walk, Don’t Run, Your Way to a Healthy Heart. American Heart Association.|