10 fantastic food for the over 50's
October 12, 2005
Eating the right food can hold back the years and keep us feeling and looking good. As we get older, we need less food but more nutrients to stay healthy. We look at vitamin-rich options to include in your daily diet.
1 BROWN RICE
A LOT of people shy away from carbohydrates because of their reputation for causing weight gain, but they're crucial for maintaining energy levels.
Stick to whole grains such as brown rice and bread, and wholegrain cereals, which provide plenty of fiber.
This can help to lower cholesterol levels, reduce your risk of heart disease, colon cancer, gall stones, diabetes and obesity, and is vital for keeping your bowels healthy - they can become less active as we age.
THEY'VE had a lot of bad press, but eggs are good for you - and now it seems there's no need to avoid them, even if you're worried about cholesterol.
They're a great source of protein and lutein, which protects your eyes against degeneration and cataracts. Studies suggest they can help to
prevent blood clots, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke - a recent study found that eating six eggs a week lowered the risk of breast cancer by 44 per cent.
Nutritionists now say having one or two eggs a day doesn't cause a noticeable increase in cholesterol levels because the body makes its own from the saturated fats in our diet and not from cholesterol-rich foods like eggs.
AS we age our calcium requirements rise, so it's important to include lots of calcium-rich foods in your diet every day. Low-fat cow's milk has loads of health benefits. It's packed full of calcium, needed for strong, healthy bones and for preventing osteoporosis.
It also helps prevent the bone loss caused by the menopause or rheumatoid arthritis. Drink two glasses of low-fat milk every day, or include low-fat yogurts and calcium-enriched fruit juices in your diet.
POPEYE had the right idea fuelling up on this superfood - calorie for calorie, it holds more nutrients than any other food. It's a particularly good source of iron, vitamins C, A and K and antioxidants which may help to protect against heart attack and stroke.
Spinach can help protect you from colon cancer, osteoporosis and arthritis. Like eggs, it's packed with lutein - great for your eyes - so try a breakfast of steamed spinach with poached eggs.
JUST one of these yellow fruits provides a whopping 467mg of potassium, which is important for keeping your muscles strong and healthy (particularly the heart) and even helps reduce high blood pressure. Bananas are a good source of fiber which can help prevent heart disease, and they have an antacid effect so they're useful for treating heartburn. Add chopped bananas to porridge for a vitamin-rich breakfast, or blend them with a bit of low-fat yogurt or milk and some fruit juice for a power-packed smoothie. Other good sources of potassium are lentils, sardines and dried apricots.
NOT only is it one of the most versatile meats, it's one of the healthiest. Stick to the breast which has the least fat, and remove the skin.
Chicken is packed with protein and helps prevent bone loss. It's also a good source of selenium, an important nutrient in preventing cancer, and B vitamins which help to increase energy and boost your brain powers.
IT'S rich in omega-3 fats, which reduce cholesterol levels, protect against some cancers and prevent blood clotting.
Research has also shown that salmon can help ease depression and prevent memory loss. It's a good source of niacin, which has been shown to provide protection against Alzheimer's.
Aim to eat fresh or tinned salmon at least three times a week. Walnuts are another great source of omega-3s.
THESE little marvels are very low in calories but bursting with nutrients. They are packed with antioxidants that help to prevent cataracts, glaucoma, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, stomach ulcers, heart disease and cancer.
They have also been shown to help lessen brain damage after a stroke and reduce inflammation in the digestive tract - helping to tackle constipation and diarrhea.
AS we age, our sense of taste declines and it's all too easy to chuck in tons of salt to make food more appetizing. But as salt increases your blood pressure, it's healthier to jazz up your meals by adding herbs and spices. Fresh herbs tend to taste stronger, but for convenience keep a selection of dried herbs in the cupboard.
FOR such a small vegetable, garlic has huge benefits. It helps prevent cancers, heart disease and reduces the risk of stroke. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect, helping to reduce pain and swelling caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It can also help those with diabetes. If you can't stand the flavor, try taking taste-free garlic capsules.
AND FOUR THINGS TO AVOID
SWEETS: THESE will make you pile on the pounds as they provide lots of calories but no nutrients. Limit your sugar intake too.
SALT: YOUR sense of taste diminishes as you age, but avoid adding salt as it increases blood pressure. And look out for 'hidden' salt in gravy mixes etc.
ALCOHOL: HAVE no more than two small drinks a day - booze is full of calories and can stop your body absorbing vitamins. Red wine's a healthier choice.
SATURATED FATS: THESE are found in meats, cheese, chicken skin and ice cream. They increase your cholesterol levels and make you put on weight.
Source: Daily Mirror, 11/10/2005
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