​ 5 Best Superfoods for Older Adults

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Tye Medical Incontinence Products

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Jun 17, 2024

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You are what you eat. While this idea might be overblown, it’s not a baseless claim. Good health has a lot to do with your diet. A healthy, well-balanced diet boots and maintains health, even when other factors like genetics emerge. And as you age, the foundation of a nutritious, beneficial diet is even more critical as chronic illnesses become more likely.

Additionally, a nutritious diet can help offset natural decline, helping you to maintain strength, cognitive function, and bone mass. You can give yourself an edge when you choose nutrient-dense foods that boost areas of health more efficiently. You can only eat so many calories in a day, so making each one count can tremendously impact your physical well-being.

Here, you’ll find a list of superfoods, their benefits, and what foods contain them.

What Are Superfoods?

Science doesn’t define “superfoods” or categorize food based on this concept. However, nutrition experts use this term to distinguish foods that are more “nutrient dense” than others and are therefore more beneficial to health. In other words, these foods pack the most punch in terms of nutrition.

They are “functional foods” that contain more nutrients than other foods. Functional foods are essentially foods that have meaningful nutritional value. For example, an apple is a functional food, but potato chips aren’t. Superfoods are considered the stars of functional foods.

Why Should Seniors Eat More Superfoods?

As a senior adult, your body is in another season of change as your various systems shift into decline. You need fewer calories and are more prone to disease and decreased function. This means you have fewer calories available to deliver nutrition to your body. Rather than eating 1,500 calories of nutrient-poor foods, you should focus on eating the same amount of calories in the form of nutrient-rich foods. This can help sustain and boost your health as you face the challenges of aging.

Why do older adults need fewer calories?

Aging affects your digestive system, slowing motility, which means food passes through your system more slowly. Your body also digests and absorbs nutrients less efficiently. This means that it’s best not to overload your system with food and calories, and the nutrients you consume aren’t absorbed into your system as effectively as they once were. You must eat more nutrients to compensate for the lack of efficient absorption and distribution.

The loss of muscle mass as you age means you’re naturally burning fewer calories. This combined with other changes that make older adults less active than in previous years means that overall calorie needs are lower. And yet, your nutritional needs increase. This is where superfoods serve an important purpose for senior adults.

1. Green, Leafy Vegetables Are a Superfood

Green leafy veggies are packed with antioxidants that remove free radicals from your body. These unstable molecules build up in your cells and damage the cells around them. This process is known to cause many diseases associated with aging like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

You can lower your risk of developing these diseases when you minimize free radicals. Superfoods such as leafy greens fight to rid these foes from your body and are a great ally in the fight against unhealthy aging and disease.

Leafy greens are also high in vitamin K, which helps protect you from osteoporosis and blood clots. Other notable nutrients packed inside this superfood include folate, magnesium, and potassium.

According to The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, seniors should eat 2.5 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit daily. Several days per week, including dark, leafy greens like these into your diet:

  • Arugula
  • Bok choy
  • Chard
  • Collard greens
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Watercress

2. Certain Berries Are a Superfood

All berries contain high amounts of antioxidants but some excel in this area. Examples of superfood berries include:

  • Blueberries
  • Cranberries
  • Goji berries
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries

While all are legitimate superfoods with incredible antioxidant benefits, blueberries steal the show. Their specific nutrient profile indicates that they also help fight cognitive decline and age-related memory loss.

Just be sure to eat your berries fresh or frozen rather than with lots of added sugar. Otherwise, you’re working against yourself as the sugar promotes all the health negatives you’re trying to address with superfoods.

Try to eat a half cup of blueberries, or the berry of your choice, daily.

3. Salmon and Fatty Fish Are a Superfood

Salmon is a fatty fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids that help lower your risk for heart disease. But it’s also high in protein, which is necessary for maintaining muscle mass and strength as you age. Protein is a macronutrient that’s processed less efficiently with age. So, it’s important to eat protein-rich foods to ensure you meet your daily needs. To learn more, read our article, 10 Protein Myths to Leave Behind for Good.

This combination of omega-3 fatty acids and protein make salmon and similar fatty fish a type of superfood that boosts health as you age. But it’s also packed with selenium, vitamin D, and other important vitamins.

An easy salmon recipe includes baking it on a sheet pan with potatoes and asparagus. Season as desired and cook at 400 degrees. Bake the potatoes first for about 10 minutes before adding the salmon and asparagus, baking for another 15 minutes.

4. Eggs Are a Superfood

Feeling confused about the benefits of eggs? For a while, there was a wide-reaching campaign against the now revered food. It claimed that eggs raised cholesterol significantly and should be avoided. This led to people eating “egg whites only” to avoid artery-clogging consequences. But is that necessary?

According to Harvard Medical School, all the panic about eggs isn’t necessary. Large, reputable studies have found that most of the cholesterol in our bodies is produced by our liver when we consume saturated and trans fats. What we most want to minimize is saturated fats and not dietary cholesterol. The conclusion is that an egg a day, provided it’s not paired with foods high in saturated fat, won’t negatively affect your blood cholesterol.

You could potentially have more than one per day, but if you want to play it safe, there is little reason to think an egg each day would harm your health.

But don’t skip the yoke! This is where all the nutrients reside. These key nutrients include high doses of selenium, which help you fight free radicals and infection. Eggs also contain vitamin D, B12, and choline, which regulates mood and memory. And all these benefits with only 1.6 grams of saturated fat per large egg!

5. Plain Greek Yogurt Is a Superfood

Notice it is plain Greek yogurt that is most beneficial. When you buy it with added sugar, you’re subtracting much from its benefits as the sugar negates some of the positive effects on gut health (probiotics) and promotes the age-related disease you’re trying to prevent by eating the superfood.

You can add some natural sweetness to your plain yogurt by adding another superfood such as berries. You can also try adding a small amount of natural sweetener like Stevia or Monk fruit to make it more enjoyable.

Greek yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt, and it’s a healthy way to consume lean protein that’s low in saturated fat. It’s also high in calcium, which is a huge benefit to senior adults who are trying to maintain bone mass and prevent osteoporosis.

Greek yogurt is also known as a key source for probiotics, which keep your digestive tract (gut) healthy. Your gut health can have a major impact on whole-body wellness. You can learn more from our article, How Gut Health Dramatically Impacts Your Life (and Tips for Keeping It Balanced).

If you’re lactose sensitive, you may still be able to enjoy the health benefits of plain Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt contains less milk-sugar lactose than other dairy products. And the “good bacteria” found in the probiotics consume much of the lactose present. You may find your system is more tolerant of Greek yogurt.

A good rule of thumb is to have about 6-8 ounces of plain Greek yogurt per day. If cholesterol is a concern, opt for nonfat, plain Greek yogurt to minimize saturated fat.

Focus Your Diet on Superfoods

If you want to live out your golden years with maximum health and be proactive, consider planning your meals and grocery store trips around key superfoods. Choose several per week to be your focus until you discover which ones are most enjoyable and easier to implement as part of your routine diet.

With a little forethought and planning, you can lay a foundation of nutrition that helps maintain the health you have, help you manage existing health conditions, or even prevent the onset of disease.

A great way to start your day is a superfood-rich breakfast smoothie. Try blending a cup of plain Greek yogurt, a half-cup of berries, a handful of kale or spinach. For added sweetness, you can include a splash of fruit juice or a tablespoon of Stevia or Monk Fruit. 

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Boost Your Brain Health With These 10 Superfoods

Our brain, that tireless workhorse, controls every thought we conjure, every memory we cherish, and every word we utter. It even choreographs our every move. So, how about we give it a little love and feed it well? Ready to discover the magic foods thatll give your brain the fuel it craves? Unraveling the Intricate Dance of Nutrition and Brain Health The Brain-Nutrient TangoOur brains, ever-hungry for energy and nutrients, need the right fuel to keep the cogs turning smoothly. Some nutrients, in fact, are the VIP guests at the brains party. The Omega-3 Fan ClubOmega-3 fatty acids arent just good for your brain; theyre its VIP party guests! Theyre the building blocks of brain and nerve cells, and without them, we might find ourselves in a learning rut or battling the blues. Antioxidants The Brains BodyguardsThen there are antioxidants, the brains personal bodyguards. They shield the brain from the onslaught of oxidative stress, which can wreak havoc on cells and fast forward brain aging and diseases. Your Brains Top 10 Best FriendsReady for the grand reveal? Heres the A-list of foods thatll supercharge your brain and get it firing on all cylinders. 1.) Fatty FishWhen it comes to brain food, fatty fish usually steal the limelight. Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, these swimmers offer a VIP treatment for your brain. 2.) BlueberriesBlueberries come packed with antioxidants that put the brakes on brain aging and give your memory a boost. Think of them as the brains personal shield against harm. 3.) TurmericThis golden spice, a darling of curry powder, wears many hats for brain benefits. Curcumin, its active compound, can cross the blood-brain barrier to deliver anti-inflammatory and antioxidant gifts. 4.) BroccoliBroccoli, with its rich antioxidant and vitamin K profile, is believed to root for brain health. Vitamin K helps in forming a type of fat thats densely packed into brain cells. 5.) Pumpkin SeedsPumpkin seeds might be small, but theyre giants when it comes to brain health. Theyre bursting with antioxidants and brimming with magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper. Now, thats a nutrient party your brain would love to join.6.) Dark ChocolateDark chocolate and cocoa powder arent just indulgences; theyre powerhouses of brain-friendly compounds, including flavonoids, caffeine, and antioxidants. So, go ahead and enjoy a square (or two) of dark chocolate guilt-free!7.) NutsNuts arent just for squirrels. Research shows that eating nuts can amp up markers of heart health, and a healthy heart is a happy companion to a healthy brain. Walnuts, in particular, wear the omega-3 crown in the nut kingdom. 8.) OrangesOranges, with their generous vitamin C offerings, are a ticket to warding off mental decline. Savor a medium-sized orange, and youll be treating your brain to a significant dose of this essential vitamin. 9.) EggsEggs are the poster child of brain foods, boasting several brain-friendly nutrients, including vitamins B6 and B12, folate, and choline. Your body uses choline to whip up acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and memory. 10.) Green TeaGreen tea does more than quench your thirst. It serves up caffeine and antioxidants, and its reputation for boosting mood and cognitive performance is well-deserved. Eating Your Way to Brain HealthAdding these superstar foods to your daily diet is simpler than you might think. Start your day with a sprinkle of blueberries and nuts on your oatmeal. How about a lunch salad crowned with broccoli and eggs? Enjoy an afternoon pick-me-up with green tea, and round off your day with a square of dark chocolate. Remember, in the quest for brain health, consistency is the secret sauce. Delicious Recipes for Your BrainWho says brain food has to be boring? Here are some simple recipes to make your brain sing:Berry and Nut Smoothie: Start your day with a power breakfast. Blend blueberries, a dollop of almond butter, a handful of spinach, and almond milk. Its a brain-loving smoothie thatll have you leaping out of bed!Salmon Salad: For a brain-boosting lunch, grill a piece of salmon and serve it atop leafy greens. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and a squeeze of fresh orange juice for a refreshing twist.Turmeric Tea: Unwind with a cup of warm, soothing, and brain-healthy turmeric tea. Simply boil a cup of water, add a teaspoon of turmeric, and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and sweeten with a touch of honey. Brain Health: Its More Than Just FoodGood nutrition is vital for brain health, but it doesnt stop there. Lets shine a spotlight on the other stars of the show. Hydration The Brains ElixirWater isnt just a thirst quencher; its a brain elixir. Dehydration can play tricks on your short-term memory, focus, and decision-making skills. So, keep your brain happily swimming in a well-hydrated body. A humble glass of water might be the simplest brain boost you can give yourself today. Brain Gymnastics: Exercise Your Way to a Healthier BrainDont let muscles steal all the exercise glory; your brain deserves its share. Regular physical activity sets the stage for increased blood flow to the brain, growth of new brain cells, and enhanced memory and thinking skills. So, lace up those sneakers and get your brain pumping!Sleep The Brains Repair TimeWhen we sleep, our bodies arent just snoozing; theyre hard at work repairing and rejuvenating themselves. A solid nights sleep can elevate memory, spur creativity, and sharpen problem-solving skills. On the flip side, sleep deprivation can throw a wrench in cognitive function and mood balance. So, make sure youre catching enough Zs for your brains sake. The Last WordThe bottom line? Your brains health is in your hands. A diet studded with the foods weve explored can rev up your brain health and turbocharge your cognitive functions. Isnt it about time you gave your brain the culinary love it deserves?Here at Integracare, were more than just a care providerwere a community. We take pride in offering four distinct types of care: assisted living, memory care, independent living, and short-term/respite care. Spread across 18 vibrant communities in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, our standards of care remain uniformly high, ensuring the best for our residents. Interested in becoming a part of our community? Wed love to hear from you. Get in touch with us today for more information. Your journey to improved brain health doesnt have to stop at nutritious food; with Integracare, it can be a holistic experience. Your Questions, AnsweredCan these foods boost my memory? Absolutely! Many of these foods are known to support memory and cognition.How soon will I notice the effects on my brain health? Brain health is a marathon, not a sprint. A nutritious diet will yield long-term benefits.Can these foods ward off brain diseases? While no diet can offer a 100% guarantee against brain diseases, a healthy diet can significantly lower your risk.Can I just try supplements instead? Supplements can lend a helping hand, but they shouldnt replace a well-rounded diet. Remember, nothing beats the real thing. Your TurnWith this brainy food guide in your hands, youre ready to give your brain the nourishment it craves. So, why not start today? After all, your brain deserves nothing less than the best. Happy eating to a healthier, smarter you!

How Diet and Exercise Influence Dementia Management

Dementia management requires a comprehensive care plan that encompasses nutrition and physical activity. Research has shown a significant correlation between diet and cognitive function in individuals with dementia, highlighting the impact of specific nutrients and dietary patterns. Similarly, the role of exercise in managing dementia symptoms cannot be overstated, with various forms of physical activity demonstrating benefits for cognitive health.THE ROLE OF EXERCISE IN A DEMENTIA CARE PLANPhysical activity plays a pivotal role in the management of dementia symptoms, offering multifaceted benefits for cognitive health. The impact of exercise on individuals with dementia is profound, encompassing both physiological and psychological advantages. Here's a closer look at the significance of physical activity in dementia care:Cognitive Benefits of ExerciseRegular physical activity has been linked to improved cognitive function in individuals with dementia.Engaging in exercise can enhance memory, attention, and overall mental acuity, contributing to a higher quality of life for dementia patients.Emotional Well-beingExercise has been shown to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression in individuals with dementia, promoting a more positive emotional state.Physical activity can also foster a sense of accomplishment and independence, bolstering the overall well-being of dementia patients.Types of ExerciseBoth aerobic exercises, such as walking or swimming, and strength training activities have demonstrated positive effects on cognitive function in individuals with dementia.Tailoring exercise programs to the specific needs and abilities of dementia patients is crucial for maximizing the benefits and ensuring safety.Caregiver InvolvementInvolving caregivers in facilitating and supporting exercise routines for individuals with dementia can enhance the overall effectiveness of the physical activity interventions.Caregivers play a vital role in encouraging and enabling dementia patients to engage in regular exercise, contributing to the holistic management of the condition.IMPLEMENTING NUTRITIONAL STRATEGIES IN YOUR DEMENTIA CARE PLANTailoring nutritional plans for individuals with dementia is essential for supporting their overall well-being and cognitive function. Implementing effective nutrition strategies involves personalized dietary approaches and practical insights to ensure optimal care for dementia patients.Guidelines for Effective Nutrition StrategiesEmphasizing nutrient-dense foods that support brain health, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, is integral to effective nutrition strategies for dementia patients.Ensuring adequate hydration and addressing any challenges related to eating and drinking are key components of implementing nutritional plans for individuals with dementia.Importance of Consistency and RoutineEstablishing regular meal times and creating a calm, familiar dining environment can promote better eating habits and reduce mealtime stress for individuals with dementia.Consistency in meal presentation and texture modification, if necessary, can facilitate easier and more enjoyable eating experiences for dementia patients.Involvement of Caregivers and Healthcare ProfessionalsCollaboration between caregivers and healthcare professionals is vital for implementing and monitoring the effectiveness of nutritional strategies for individuals with dementia.Educating caregivers about the specific dietary needs and challenges associated with dementia can empower them to provide optimal support and assistance in meal planning and preparation.INTEGRATING PHYSICAL ACTIVITY INTO A DEMENTIA CARE PLANIntegrating physical activity into dementia management presents unique challenges and opportunities, requiring tailored exercise programs and approaches suitable for individuals with cognitive impairments.Tailored Exercise ProgramsDesigning exercise programs that accommodate the specific needs and abilities of individuals with dementia is essential for ensuring safety and effectiveness.Incorporating activities that focus on balance, flexibility, and strength can help improve overall physical function and reduce the risk of falls among dementia patients.Cognitive Stimulation through Physical ActivityEngaging individuals with dementia in activities that involve coordination and cognitive stimulation, such as dancing or modified sports, can contribute to both physical and mental well-being.Combining physical exercise with cognitive challenges can enhance brain function and promote a sense of accomplishment for dementia patients.Addressing ChallengesOvercoming barriers related to motivation, communication, and behavioral symptoms is crucial when integrating physical activity into dementia care.Adapting exercise routines to accommodate fluctuations in mood and energy levels, as well as addressing any safety concerns, is vital for the successful implementation of physical activity programs.Benefits of ExerciseRegular physical activity has been associated with improved sleep patterns, reduced agitation, and enhanced overall quality of life for individuals with dementia.The positive impact of exercise on mood, social interaction, and physical well-being underscores the importance of integrating physical activity into comprehensive dementia management.HOLISTIC APPROACH TO DEMENTIA CARE A GOOD PLANA holistic approach to dementia care integrates nutrition and physical activity into a comprehensive care plan, recognizing the interconnectedness of these elements in promoting the overall well-being of individuals with dementia.Comprehensive Well-beingBy addressing both nutritional needs and physical activity, a holistic approach aims to support the physical, mental, and emotional health of individuals living with dementia.This comprehensive strategy acknowledges the multifaceted nature of dementia and seeks to optimize the quality of life for patients through a well-rounded care plan.Synergistic BenefitsIntegrating nutrition and exercise can create synergistic benefits, where the positive effects of each component complement and enhance the outcomes of the other.A holistic approach recognizes the potential for improved cognitive function, physical strength, and emotional resilience when nutrition and physical activity are integrated into dementia care plans.ENHANCED QUALITY OF LIFE WITH A DEMENTIA CARE PLANEmbracing a holistic approach to dementia care can lead to an improved overall quality of life for individuals with dementia, fostering a sense of purpose, independence, and vitality.By addressing the diverse needs of dementia patients through a comprehensive care plan, caregivers and healthcare professionals can contribute to a more fulfilling and enriching experience for those under their care.The integration of nutrition and physical activity into comprehensive care plans is pivotal for effectively managing dementia. By recognizing the interconnectedness of these elements and embracing a holistic approach, caregivers and healthcare professionals can significantly enhance the overall well-being and quality of life for individuals living with dementia. The synergistic benefits of tailored nutritional strategies and personalized exercise programs underscore the importance of a multifaceted care approach. For personalized and holistic care options, readers are encouraged to explore the offerings at Assured Senior Living:  https://www.assuredassistedliving.com/

The Importance of Staying Hydrated

Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining health and keeping critical bodily functions working properly. Hydration can be a challenge for some seniors because seniors may have a diminished ability to sense thirst, notice changes in body temperature, and may be taking medications that have a dehydrating effect. Keeping a few tips in mind will ensure that seniors stay hydrated and continue to enjoy the activities that bring them joy.Older adults looking to stay hydrated throughout the day should try these tips to get started. Being dehydrated can cause confusion, headaches, elevated heart rate, muscle weakness, and fatigue. Seniors who think they may be dehydrated should discuss their symptoms with their doctor before changing their fluid intake. Seniors should discuss hydration with their doctor as only can a healthcare professional recommend how much water someone needs, and they can also provide guidance and tips on managing water intake. Create a schedule drinking a lot of water in one sitting can be difficult. However, creating a schedule that accounts for daily activity, physician-recommended intake levels, and the preferences of the senior can help keep hydration on track.Eat water-rich foods cucumbers, watermelon, apples, and other water-rich produce can help seniors get more fluids at mealtimes. Broth is also a good option.Make water more interesting For those that dont enjoy drinking water, adding small amounts of juice or flavoring to water can make it less boring. Popsicles are also a great optionespecially on warm days!Reduce water loss excessive sweating can contribute to dehydration keeping inside temperatures at a reasonable level, and being mindful of fluid loss during outside activities, can help seniors stay hydrated.Dont wait for thirst often, when seniors feel thirsty; they may already be dehydrated.Additional TipsCarry a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day.Set reminders on your phone or use a kitchen timer to prompt yourself to drink fluids.There are also water bottles available that track your fluid intake.If you find it difficult to drink plain water, consider flavored sparkling water or unsweetened tea.Comfort Keepers Can HelpComfort Keepers can provide support for seniors that are concerned about the issue of hydration. Our caregivers can provide transportation to healthcare appointments, assist with meal preparation and planning, and provide support for physician-prescribed hydration regimens. Our goal is to support physical and emotional care goals and to elevate the spirits of our clients and their families every day.To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your local Comfort Keepers location today. ReferencesCenters for Disease Control and Prevention. Get the Facts: Drinking Water and Intake. Web. 2016.FamilyDoctor.org. Hydration: Why Its So Important. Web. 2017.Mayo Clinic. Dehydration. Web. 2018.WebMD. What is Dehydration? What Causes It? Web. 2019

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