We're taking a break from the usual topics we cover surrounding care transitions and home care, though this topic does relate directly to home care/eldercare. We're happy to present guest blogger, Felicity Dryer, a women's and senior health journalist. She believes healthy eating is the key to a great lifestyle, and that it doesn't have to be a drag. She she hopes you enjoy this article and graphic!
The Superfood Super Guide for Super Seniors
Imagine, for a moment, that there was a simple way for seniors to reduce the risk of heart disease, fortify the body against cancer, boost mood, and improve general wellness without a cart full of prescription medications. Odds are, most people would make a beeline for whoever was selling that miracle solution. Luckily for seniors, there is such a place to find these “miracle” fortifiers: the grocery store.
Antioxidants: Preventing “Rust” in the Body
Superfoods are foods found in nature and are extremely high in antioxidants but low in calories, which means they pack maximum nutrition into each serving. Antioxidants help fight the chemical process in the body known as oxidation. A little bit of oxidation is natural, but when a disruption in the oxidation process occurs from something like alcohol consumption, exposure to carcinogens, or extreme stress, it creates dangerous molecules called free radicals. If left unchecked, free radicals cause damage to healthy cells. Just as oxidation creates rust on a piece of metal, or causes an apple slice to turn brown, extreme oxidation in the body creates damage to tissue.
Antioxidants are the best defense against free radicals. They help stop the chain reaction that occurs once damaged cells start reproducing, helping to reduce the chances that the body will develop diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Unfortunately, our bodies do not produce enough antioxidants to fight all of the chemicals in our environment that cause free radicals. That’s where superfoods come into play.
Are Superfoods Just a Fad?
At first glance, the name “superfood” sounds like another expensive, flash-in-the-pan fad eating craze. However, superfoods have long been recognized for their disease-fighting properties by several highly influential organizations like The American Cancer Society, The American Heart Association, and AARP. Superfoods, unlike trendy foods and celebrity diets, are found directly in nature. They don’t require special preparation, nor do they involve complicated steps like measuring, counting, or even weighing servings.
Superfoods include fruits, vegetables, fish, grains, yogurt, nuts, certain teas, and even dark chocolate. While fad diets come in and out of favor, a consistently healthy diet that incorporates natural foods from a variety of food groups is the true path to good health for people of all ages, but most especially seniors.
Incorporating Superfoods Into Your Diet
Incorporating superfoods into a diet isn’t difficult. Making simple changes can go a long way. Swapping a late-night bowl of ice cream for a bowl of chilled blueberries, replacing morning coffee with morning tea, or choosing raw vegetables instead of potato chips for a snack are easy ways to add superfoods into a daily menu plan.
Many seniors are retired and live on a fixed income which means the grocery budget must be watched closely. However, superfoods aren’t expensive. They are fruits, vegetables grains, and other natural foods that are readily available. For example, a bag of spinach at the grocery store generally costs the same as a bag of pre-chopped iceberg lettuce. Seasonal fruit is often found on sale, and it can be purchased from local farmers’ markets. Fish can be purchased in bulk and frozen for later use. There are an endless number of ways to incorporate these health-boosting foods into a diet without breaking the bank.
Superfoods are no guarantee of disease prevention, but a well-balanced diet, moderate exercise, and a commitment to an active and healthy senior lifestyle will have a positive impact on the body today, tomorrow, and well into the future.
For more from Felicity, you can connect with her via Twitter at: @
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