Our 50’s come with a new set of challenges and potentials as our minds and bodies continue to transform. Aging is a blessing; as each birthday passes, we have accumulated yet another year of experiences, miracles, and sorrows, and hopefully gained a deeper understanding and acceptance of ourselves.
Aging is a process of change. At some point, each of us finds that our mental and physical health shifts as we grow older; this is an inescapable fact of life. However, we can nourish ourselves with specific wholesome foods to keep our bodies strong and our minds sharp. Here is a list of 8 super foods to nurture your body after 50.
This wholesome carb is loaded with vitamin A and C, but what makes potatoes especially valuable is their high potassium levels. Research shows increasing potassium intake is significantly associated with lowering risk of strokes. In fact according to a study published by Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases, by just consuming the minimum of potassium intake recommended, we could prevent 150,000 strokes every year.
Flaxseeds are the richest whole-food source of Omega-3 fatty acids. According to a study done by Current Neuropharmacology, Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to healthy aging, and specifically to improve cognitive functions. Plus these little brown or yellow seeds are very high in fiber and Vitamin E. Spruce up any meal, like smoothies, oatmeal, or salads, by sprinkling some of this super food on top.
Antioxidant rich foods like artichokes work to counteract the damage caused by harmful stressors that build up throughout our lives like poor diet, smoking, sun exposure, taking medications, and chemical exposure. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, antioxidants play an important role in maintaining general health, especially in determining the frequency of age-related diseases. Artichokes amazingly are also one of the only vegetables that actually gets more nutritious when you cook it!
Berries are another food rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, but berries have yet another super power. They are uniquely capable of localizing in the brain region associated with learning and memory. In fact, berries ability to prevent cognitive decline as we age is remarkable and well documented by the Harvard Nurses’ Health Studies. Its findings state that eating a diet plentiful with berries can delay cognitive decline by up to 2.5 years. That’s powerful stuff.
This very well may be the most important food to add to your diet to stay healthy as you age. The title of a study published by Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “Legumes: the most important dietary predictor of survival in older people of different ethnicities,” pretty much says it all. It was found that across all cultures, beans are associated with an 8% reduction in risk of death for every 20g increase in daily intake.
Bonus: Mix it up by sprouting your beans at home in just a few days! Here’s how.
Cinnamon, like artichokes and berries, is loaded with powerful antioxidants that contain potent anti-inflammatory properties. Research has also shown cinnamon’s ability to lower blood sugar levels naturally and produce anti-diabetic effects.
Spinach and other leafy greens like arugula or kale are an aging human’s best friend. These vegetables are high in nitrate, which research shows improves the flexibility and function of our arteries, reducing our risk of cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment and dementia. And it doesn’t take much! Eating only a single meal containing spinach daily for one week has measurable impact on reducing blood pressure. So eating leafy greens even once a day can go a long way.
8. Beetroot Juice
Similar to spinach, beetroot juice is high in nitrates. A study done by the Journal of Gerontology showed that after scanning the brains of participants who combined beetroot juice with some aerobic activity, their brains more closely resembled those of younger adults, showing potential for enhanced neuroplasticity. Basically meaning that adding beetroot juice plus some exercise, be it walking, Yoga, or anything else to your daily routine, could have remarkable effects on cognitive functioning as you age.
So remember that there are simple, practical changes you can make to your diet to ensure your body and mind stay healthy as you age. How many of these super foods do you already eat and how many are you willing to add to your grocery list?