Female care worker helps elderly woman exercise with hand weights.

Super Foods for the Elderly

When I was a boy growing up in the fifties and sixties there were two food groups, steak and Wheaties. We ate the steak because our parents told us to (my dad told me to eat steak and eggs before every basketball game – once I stopped doing that I jumped 12” higher) and I ate Wheaties because, well, we all wanted to be just like the cover focus, Bob Richards, an Olympian.

Today, I’m not only wiser, I’m older (the two don’t always go hand-in-hand). Both those points just seem to happen without even trying, yet along with age and wisdom comes a need to alter some important areas of our lives; such as what we eat. As we all know, aging changes our bodies and malnutrition is one of the negative affects of not paying close enough attention to the needs of our changing metabolism.

Aging also affects our teeth, which in turn can affect what we choose to eat. Aging often impacts the number of medications we ingest, which can in turn affect how our bodies interact with certain food groups. As it turns out, there are many areas of the aging process that are directly affected by aging and most of those areas can be positively influenced if we just choose to eat better.

So let’s review some of the super foods that can stave off the affects of old age.

Super foods:

  • Salmon
    Way at the top of everyone’s list. These cold-water fish are high in Omega-3 essential fatty oils which can control the amount of triglycerides in your blood stream, reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) and improving HDL (good cholesterol). Other Omega-3 fish are tuna, sardines, and mackerel.

  • Oranges
    High in vitamin C, which is a useful antioxidant. Oranges can help ward off kidney stones as well as improves cellular health.

  • Milkshakes
    Really, if made with low-fat milk and low-fat ice cream, the vitamin D and calcium in this great drink can help to maintain bone strength; something all elders fear, especially as the risk of falling increases with age.

  • Broccoli
    For anyone who has either suffered from prostate issues or is concerned about that type of illness, broccoli, if used regularly, can help to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

  • Dark leafy greens, such as spinach, arugula, kale, Swiss chard, etc.
    All help to reduce blood pressure by increasing potassium levels in the blood.

There are many other foods, such as yogurt, carrots, almonds and walnuts, and even butter, that can improve the way your body processes food into nutrition. The point is, as you age, you change. As you change, so must your diet change. The old days of eating chips before a meal, having a big steak with mashed potatoes dripping with sour cream or a huge bowl of pasta a couple of nights a week are gone.

Portions must be smaller, food groups must change, and our attitude about foods must become healthier. It can actually be fun to learn and try new foods . . . Give it a whirl!

If you're interested in our compassionate home care services for you or a loved one, contact your nearest Visiting Angels home care agency today or call 800-365-4189.
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