As we age, our physical needs start to change as the body changes. Our metabolism begins to slow down and how much energy we need to consume vs output shifts along with it. Our bones also begin to weaken, and muscle mass declines. This is why proper nutrition becomes even more important – we may be less hungry because our body needs less energy, but we still need to ensure we’re getting the right energy. Forget those sugar spikes from quick fixes, and let’s dive into how healthy choices can help you not only help you sustain your lifestyle, but also decrease your risk of heart problems, manage blood pressure, and help prevent diabetes and the fight against cancer.
How to choose healthy foods
Start with the building blocks and eat a variety of foods every day. The Government of Canada has a healthy plate guide here. And remember! Bright, naturally colourful foods are usually the healthiest. Also, choose foods that are low in sodium and high in fiber.
On the other hand, stay away from saturated fats and sugars. Instead, choose healthy flavourings like herbs and spices. When in doubt, read the Nutrition Facts on the label if it’s coming from a package!
When serving up your meal, stick with small portions more often throughout the day, and always be mindful of what’s recommended for your age and body type. Check with your trusted healthcare professional before making any major changes.
Looking for a quick, natural boost of vitamins and minerals? Add lemon or lime to your water, dressing or sauces. These little citruses are high in electrolytes, sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Which 5 healthy foods to choose if you’re 50+
The following list of minimally processed foods are “super” because together, they provide you with healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
1. Berries, especially blueberries, are known to help delay age-related cognitive decline and are rich in antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Berries in general are high in fiber, vitamin C, and anti-inflammatory antioxidant flavonoids. Some of which are thought to improve motor skills and short-term memory!
2. Dark-green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, arugula, and broccoli are loaded with vitamins A, C, which help moderate blood pressure levels, and vitamin K which can help prevent osteoporosis. They’re also high in fiber and are thought to boost muscle function.
3. Seafood, especially salmon and other fatty fish provides a good source of protein, which is crucial to maintaining muscle mass, as well as B12. It’s also packed with omega-3 fatty acids which can help fight heart disease.
4. Nuts & seeds (almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, flax meal, and chia seeds) are packed with plant protein, fiber, and antioxidants, not to mention they contain monounsaturated fats, which are believed to help lower the risk of heart disease.
5. Greek yogurt, aside from being packed with calcium and protein, its main “superfood” ingredient seniors will value is its probiotics! Probiotics help digestion and can boost immune function.
Other star foods for aging adults include beans & legumes, eggs, avocados, and cottage cheese for their fiber, protein, and vitamin contents. But no matter what you eat, always remember that what you drink is just as important: H20 is crucial to staying hydrated and aiding digestion.
If you are still looking to supplement your menu, talk to your doctor first about including B12, calcium, and the immune-boosting sunshine vitamin D.
Looking for some inspired recipes? Try the “Dining at Verve” filter in the Inspiring Stories blog for delicious and nutritious meal ideas, prepared by our very own Red Seal chefs. And for more of our tips on healthy physical and mental aging, click here.