By 2030, six out of 10 Baby Boomers will be managing a chronic condition. This makes it more important than ever to stay healthy as you age. Summer is the perfect time to start a fresh diet or exercise routine, and understanding the right choices for your health is the best way to prevent some of the most common illnesses. Here are just a few health-boosting foods that all seniors should add to their diet this summer.
Americans consume about 1.3 pounds of honey per person per year, but it’s much more than a sweet and delicious treat — it can actually enhance memory retention for seniors. Honey can be enjoyed in virtually countless ways, but one of the simplest ways to enjoy it is simply to add it to some hot tea. Memory loss is one of the most common signs of aging in humans, but adding honey to your diet is one way to enhance mental health over the years. Just make sure it’s the real thing and not a corn syrup-based alternative.
Coffee is known to have a number of mental health-related benefits. In fact, the average U.S. coffee drinker consumes 3.1 cups per day. But recent studies suggest that the caffeine in coffee (and in dark chocolate) is often used as therapeutics against Alzheimer’s disease. Cinnamon, curry, and olive oil have the same effects, so add them to a meal whenever possible to make the most of their memory enhancing qualities.
It’s no secret that physical and mental health go hand in hand, but part of aging is developing a weakened immune system. For example, cold symptoms often last from 48 hours to 14 days. The average person makes a full recovery within 10 days, but for seniors, the recovery process can take even longer. Keep the immune system strong by incorporating foods with vitamin C into your diet, like blueberries. Not only do blueberries have vitamin C, but they’re also beneficial to mental health.
“In a 2012 Annals of Neurology study, people who regularly ate blueberries experienced slower cognitive decline — an aging delay of as much as 2.5 years — than less avid berry eaters. They are a great source of vitamin K, and also contain vitamin C, fiber, and other antioxidants that are especially important for seniors. Try adding blueberries to your breakfast cereal, or blend them up in a smoothie,” writes Chefs For Seniors.
Greek yogurt is a food trend that’s emerged and skyrocketed in popularity over the past decade — and for good reason: it’s high in protein, potassium, and vitamin B12. Many seniors eat less meat past the age of 50, but they neglect to realize just how important protein consumption is as they age. Protein helps to preserve muscle mass, so grab some Greek yogurt next time you’re at the store. Try to avoid the varieties with extra sugar. Experts say the healthiest choice is actually plain flavored Greek yogurt, which makes a great base to add fresh fruit and/or granola.
Finally, salmon is known for being full of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, which also help to decrease brain cell loss. The vitamin D in salmon helps to improve bone strength as well. For optimal health, seniors should try to eat oily fish such as salmon between one and three times per week.
Ultimately, incorporating these foods into your diet can put you on track for a happy and healthy summer.