If you are lucky enough to still be living independently, or are perhaps caring for a parent, you might be looking for food that is both delicious and will keep seniors healthy and sprightly.
Have a look here at our suggestions for superfoods for seniors to put the spring back in your step.
Do Seniors Really Need Superfoods?
You could be forgiven for thinking that you can just carry on eating all the same foods you used to, and of course, you can. But it is no secret that your body and mind undergo some physical changes as you get older and eating more of certain foods and less of others will combat some of the physical symptoms of aging.
As we age it is important we eat a healthy and varied diet to keep our joints supple, aid our cognitive ability, regulate our blood pressure and keep our body and minds healthy.
Let’s break down the superfoods for seniors by benefit.
Superfoods for Super Brains
Many forms of dementia are caused by physical changes in the brain, but emerging research suggests that lifestyle plays a big part in whether we will get it or not.
Omega 3, vitamin K and Iron and Vitamin A are all essential for healthy brains.
The top 5 foods for brain health are:
1) Leafy green veg, such as cabbage, kale, and spinach are all high in antioxidants and Vitamin K.
2) Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and sprouts are all rich in Vitamin B, C, and K. They also contain a lot of carotenoids, which are proven to help fight off diseases, such as cancer.
3) Omega 3, found in fish, flax seeds, and olive oil is great for brain health. Those who regularly consume omega 3 showed 26% less risk of damage to the brain that can cause dementia.
4) Berries, especially blueberries, are full of antioxidants and protect the brain from free radicals. They also have lots of vitamin C in them.
5) Cinnamon, sage, turmeric, and cumin are great for reducing inflammation in the brain, which can cause memory problems.
The one big food to avoid to support brain health? That 21st century demon, sugar.
Superfoods for Super Bodies
Our bodies ache for all sorts of reasons, but arthritis in particular affects more than 10 million people in the UK.
But fortunately, there are some foods you can eat to reduce inflammation in the joints and help your body lubricate them.
1) Omega 3 is back! Found in seeds, nuts, and fish it reduces inflammation and help to remove stiffness in your joints. Aim to eat 2 portions a week.
2) Leafy greens again! Study shows that some leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, contain sulforaphane, which helps to protect joints from damage. Plus, they are full of antioxidants that help to combat free radicals and prevent them damaging your cells.
3) Yoghurt can help to reduce swelling in your joints. Mix in some blueberries for added arthritis fighting power.
4) Pomegranate seeds are full of flavonoids, which have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes, and arthritis. They combat free radicals, like normal antioxidants, but then go one better and often have antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties.
5) Lean proteins, such as fish, chicken, and beans, help your muscles and connective tissue grow and retain strength. Essential for those with joint pain.
And the top foods to avoid? Lots of people report cutting out tomatoes, dairy and gluten has a positive effect on their joint pain. It is certainly worth keeping a food diary to see what effects your body. Just make sure you discuss it with your GP before cutting anything out your diet.
Superfoods for Super Moods
Nearly half of the over 55s say they have experienced depression or anxiety. One in 5 of those respondents said their mental health had declined as they got older.
But there are some foods you can eat to maintain your mental health and give yourself a little boost when you’re down. And no, Dairy Milk and a bottle of Prosecco isn’t on the list. Sorry!
1) Omega 3 again! It makes sense that an omega that is so vital for the function of the brain is linked to good mental health, This time it is helping the brain produce serotonin and dopamine and fostering brain cell renewal.
2) Complex carbohydrates fuel your body in a stable way, avoiding the highs and lows of foods that contain sugar, or burn quickly. The dip in insulin we get after eating simple carbohydrates can make us irritable, stressed, and tired. Wholegrains, oats, apples, and lentils are all complex carbs.
3) Protein rich foods, such as eggs, chicken, fish, pulses, and beans supply your brain with tryptophan, which makes the brain produce serotonin. Serotonin is vital for healthy sleep and is a great mood equalizer.
4) Cacao has been shows in some studies to boost your mood, But, like we have said, Dairy Milk isn’t going to cut it. Look for a bar that has at least 70% cacao in it to get the mood boosting benefits.
5) Foods with plenty of B6 can help the tryptophan convert to serotonin. It can be found in pork, poultry, milk, peanuts, and soya beans.
And the food to avoid? Sugar, of course! It creates a quick short spike in our insulin levels which can make us feel great for about half an hour, and then we have to deal with the sudden drop, which can leave us irritable and tired. Not good for handling stress.
Get Some Advice
If you are worrying that you are not as capable of living alone as you used to be, consider a granny annexe. These stand-alone luxury pods sit in the garden of a friend of loved one, so they are on hand if you need a bit of extra support.