If your stomach turns at the mere thought of adding a multivitamin to an already lengthy medication regimen, you aren’t alone.
Micronutrient deficiencies are common among older adults, which is a travesty because the effects of not getting enough vitamins and minerals can impact your energy levels, ability to perform day to day tasks and mental clarity. Severe deficiencies can even mimic the signs and symptoms of more serious ailments many seniors already worry about.
Thankfully, a multivitamin isn’t the only way to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need to stay healthy. By choosing foods packed with vitamins and minerals, you’ll get more bang for your nutritional buck. These so-called “superfoods” are loaded with more nutrients than their not-so-super counterparts.
In addition to making better food choices overall, consider adding these four superfoods to your meals:
Once an essential part of breakfast, eggs have been the subject of concern as of late because of their high cholesterol content, which research has found to be of no concern unless you’re eating more than a dozen eggs a week, and suggests that regular egg consumption could actually raise your body’s levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol to protect your heart from disease.)
Controversy aside, eggs deliver a fair bit of choline, selenium, iron and phosphorous to your body and give you a chance to get some essential vitamin A and B vitamins, the latter of which are so essential for seniors, as even a mild deficiency can cause symptoms that can be confused for the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Dark, Leafy Greens
Let’s face it, sitting down to eat an entire plate of kale or turnip greens sounds pretty unappealing unless you’re a rabbit.
Thankfully, you don’t need entire bales of dark green, leafy vegetables to see their benefit. Just by switching out lighter greens on sandwiches and salads or less-than-optimal vegetable side dishes for these nutrient-rich superfoods, you’ll give yourself a portion of the folate, zinc calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamin C your body needs to stay healthy.
Aging bodies can also benefit from the fiber and cancer-preventing antioxidants found in dark green leafy vegetables.
A plate of spaghetti with a side of garlic bread doesn’t sound like the most nutritionally sound meal; it’s mostly starch, but one ingredient can turn this ho-hum classic dinner into a superfood feast: garlic.
Garlic is packed full of nutrients, including vitamins C and B6, but also manganese, selenium, phosphorous, calcium, potassium, copper and iron. Research suggests that allicin, the compound that makes garlic so potent, has a positive effect on the body’s ability to lower cholesterol levels, ward off heart disease and reduce the risks of cancer. But that’s not all: garlic is infamously antibacterial, making a warm bowl of garlic-infused spaghetti sound even more appealing during cold and flu season.
Whether you like them fresh or dried, figs pack a nutritional punch.
Just five medium-sized fresh figs or a half cup of dried figs contain about 1/10 of your daily allowance of calcium. If you or your loved ones can’t tolerate dairy, these fruits are a great way to get that bone-preserving mineral. They also contain potassium and magnesium, which the body also uses to ensure your bones stay healthy. If that weren’t enough, figs are packed with fiber to keep you regular and help regulate your blood sugar levels.
Superfoods for Seniors
Seniors looking to make the best nutritional choices would do well to turn an eye to superfoods for their dietary needs. Although the term is a trendy buzzword, these foods are packed with vitamins and minerals, and some are high in antioxidants and other compounds that help maintain your health.
While these four superfoods are easy to swap into your diet in place of other, less-nutritionally dense options, there’s a whole wide world of superfoods to explore and their benefits are for everybody—meaning it’s possible to turn cooking and meal preparation times into a chance for extra quality time for bonding with your loved ones while exploring better food choices.