These are the best foods to eat as you age
Getting older is a normal part of life, and staying healthy by making good choices of your lifestyle plays a vital role.
Combination of healthy food. Picture: iStock
Eating the right kind of food becomes really important as we get older. It helps keep us healthy and full of energy.
Choosing foods that are good for us can also prevent sickness and keep our bodies strong and making smart food choices is a big part of staying active and feeling good as we age.
Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health cover, discusses the importance of nutrition in promoting good health and wellbeing as we age.
Murray Hewlett, the CEO of Affinity Health, talks about the crucial role that food plays as we grow older.
“Ageing is a natural part of life, and with it comes various body changes. Our metabolism slows down, bone density decreases, and we may face challenges like heart disease, diabetes and cognitive decline.
“However, a well-balanced diet can significantly impact how we age, helping us maintain physical and mental health and reducing the risk of chronic diseases,” stated Hewlett.
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13 foods to eat as you age
Affinity Health lists these 13 foods that can support your body’s wellbeing as you age, promoting a better and more joyful quality of life:
- Leafy Greens: Spinach, red and green leaf lettuce, watercress, kale and Swiss chard are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are abundant in vitamin K, which is essential for bone health and helps prevent fractures.
2. Fatty Fish: Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are abundant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These beneficial fats have demonstrated their ability to combat inflammation, lower the likelihood of heart disease, and support brain function, potentially reducing the risk of cognitive decline.
3. Berries: Berries like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries contain antioxidants, vitamins, and fibre. They can help improve memory, reduce inflammation, and promote heart health.
4. Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds like pecans, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds are high in healthy fats, fibre, and protein. They can aid in the maintenance of good cholesterol levels, the prevention of heart disease, and the support of brain health.
5. Whole Grains: Whole grains like oats, whole wheat, barley, buckwheat, quinoa, and brown rice provide essential nutrients and fibre. They can help regulate blood sugar, support digestive health, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
6. Yoghurt: As people age, their bodies may produce fewer digestive enzymes, making it more challenging to break down and absorb nutrients from food effectively. Yoghurt contains probiotics, which are beneficial microorganisms that aid digestion. Probiotics can assist in maintaining healthy gut flora and reduce the risk of digestive diseases such as constipation and diarrhoea. It is also associated with a lower risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
7. Colourful Vegetables: Vegetables with vibrant colours, such as carrots, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes, are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They enhance good skin, eyesight, and immune function.
8. Lean Protein: Protein is vital in preserving muscle mass, which diminishes as we age. Choose lean protein sources such as chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, or legumes to bolster your overall well-being and mobility.
9. Olive Oil: Olive oil is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. It can help reduce inflammation, lower the risk of heart disease, and support brain health.
10. Dairy or Dairy Alternatives: Dairy products, such as milk and yoghurt, are high in calcium and vitamin D, which are needed for bone health. If you’re lactose intolerant or prefer plant-based options, fortified dairy alternatives like almond or soy milk are available.
11. Herbs and Spices: Turmeric contains curcumin, which is linked to reduced inflammation and improved brain function. A ginger contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may help relieve the symptoms of disorders such as arthritis. Ginger helps lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease by increasing heart health parameters.
12. Eggs: Eggs are a nutrient powerhouse, providing protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. They support muscle health, and the choline in eggs is essential for brain function.
13. Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) is loaded with powerful antioxidants, such as flavonoids and polyphenols, which help combat oxidative stress and reduce cell damage caused by free radicals. Some studies also suggest that dark chocolate’s antioxidants positively impact cognitive function and help protect the brain from age-related decline.