Eating healthy has changed over the decades. What was once considered healthy has more than likely been ruled out as insufficient. Deciding on a healthy diet is a difficult decision. Unfortunately, that decision gets complicated with age.
Dietary suggestions for people over the age of 50 are constantly in flux, so it is imperative to stay on top of the latest research. In order to live a long, happy, and healthy life, incorporate some of these foods and habits into your diet.
Here are seven life-changing foods and tweaks anyone over 50 should make today.
1. Quinoa: An Antioxidant Packed with Protective Qualities
It’s no secret that consuming more healthy and whole grains is better for your healthy life. However, this one type of grain is truly proving to supersede the rest. Quinoa, pronounced keen-wah, is quickly becoming the stereotypical health-conscious food of choice. Yet, this newfound title is well-deserved.
Quinoa contains loads of healthy ingredients such as protein, fiber, and essential minerals. Even though quinoa is a grain, it contains barely any gluten. In just one cup of quinoa, you can consume up to eight grams of protein, five grams of fiber, and half of the recommended amount of manganese.
In addition it contains large percentages of zinc, potassium, folate, copper, iron and phosphorus. B1, B2, and B6, along with small traces of calcium and vitamin E, are also present in quinoa.
While these nutrients are vital for all ages, quinoa boasts some health benefits for those over the age of 50. Quinoa includes two key flavonoids, quercetin and kaempferol. These two molecules work to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer, and anti-depressant qualities. These antioxidants are beneficial for anyone looking to reduce their likelihood of developing serious viruses and conditions, such as cancer.
You can find quinoa in practically any grocery store, and there are three types of this grain. You can find red, white and black quinoa. Regardless of the color you purchase, quinoa will appear in small tiny circular granules.
How to Cook Quinoa
Cooking with quinoa can appear intimidating, yet it is relatively simple:
- Combine one cup quinoa to two cups water in a medium saucepan.
- Bring the pan to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Cook until the quinoa is tender.
- This process should take approximately 15 minutes.
- Quinoa retains water, so drain it thoroughly after it has cooked.
Eating quinoa by itself can be rather bland. Here’s how to rev up your recipe and create a quick quinoa salad:
- Place the cooked quinoa in a medium bowl.
- Add one-third cup of canned low sodium black beans.
- Chop one small tomato and one scallion and add to the bowl.
- Sprinkle with one teaspoon olive oil and a dash of lemon juice.
- Use a pinch of salt and black pepper.
One easy way to add flavor and health benefits to any meal is to add various nuts. Below we have detailed about beneficial nuts, as well as the nuts you should avoid at all costs.
2. Become Nuts About These Nutritious Nuts
For many years, dieticians have advised people to avoid nuts. It is true that nuts contain a large amount of fats; however, the fats contained in nuts are low in saturated fat and are essentially quite beneficial to the body. The key is to separate healthy nuts from the unhealthy nuts.
Nuts to Avoid
Almost all nuts have dietary benefits. The unhealthiest of all the nut choices would be peanuts. Peanuts do contain benefits, such as antioxidant properties, but they are the highest in saturated fats naturally. Then, consider the products that typically contain peanuts. Any processed packaging will be high in sodium, saturated fat, and potentially sugar, as well.
Stay away from these highly processed yet inviting foods. In addition, peanuts tend to contain a carcinogenic mold called aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is one of the most pesticide-contaminated crops and therefore, unhealthy for consumption.
Nuts to Go Nutty Over
Instead of peanuts, try one of these healthy, beneficial nuts:
- Almonds contain just as much calcium as milk. They also contain equal amounts of magnesium, vitamin E, selenium, and fiber. Almonds work to lower cholesterol and help fight against cancer and even prevent it.You can add almonds to salads, pasta dishes, and even poultry recipes, or you can also purchase almond milk, which is even more beneficial than regular milk.
- Brazil Nuts are excellent sources of protein, copper, magnesium, niacin, vitamin E, and fiber. Most of the fats found in Brazil nuts are unsaturated, which work to promote heart health. These nuts are relatively high in saturated fats, too, though, so stick to one serving daily to keep calorie and fat intake proportional.These nuts also tend to be pricy and are located in obscure grocery stores or whole food stores. They are delicious served alone as a snack. It is essential to store Brazil nuts in the refrigerator or freezer, as their fat content causes them to spoil quickly.
Cashews are rich in many minerals, such as zinc, biotin, and iron. These nuts are low fat. Similarly to olive oil, cashews have a high concentration of oleic acid. Oleic acid is beneficial for your heart’s health.According to experts, one handful of cashews per day can work just as effectively as Prozac. However, experts don’t recommend cashews for any cancer patients. Cashews contain levels of fungus that can prove detrimental for anyone undergoing cancer treatment.
- Cedar Nuts/Pine Nuts contain almost all vitamins, including A, C, D and E, as well as flavonoids. One serving of pine nuts contains up to 70 percent of your body’s daily amino acid requirements.Pine nuts can be a delicious addition to sprinkle on your salads or entrées.
- Pecans contain folic acid, calcium, magnesium, manganese and zinc. These nuts help lower cholesterol, and can be a delectable addition to any dessert.
- Walnuts are beneficial for heart and brain health. Walnuts contain ellagic acid, which is a cancer-fighting antioxidant.Roast some walnuts by the fire, or sprinkle them over any meal for a sweet flavor.
If nuts aren’t your thing, then there are still plenty of excellent and affordable health options for you.
3. There’s Nothing Seedy Here
Seeds are growing in popularity due to their numerous health benefits. Here are eight different seeds and their powerful health qualities.
- Flax seeds are incredibly beneficial for hair and nails. They have many more health qualities, as well. These seeds contain powerful omega-3s and lignans, which are super antioxidants that work to help fight cancer. Flax seed also contains quite a bit of fiber, which reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.Add two tablespoons of ground flax seed to your daily smoothie, oatmeal or protein shakes. You won’t taste them, but you will surely notice the benefits.
- Chia seeds contain anti-oxidants, omega-3s, and fiber. They also have protein and calcium. Known as the super seed, chia seeds offer you numerous health benefits with relatively no calories. There are only benefits to this seed, and you can sneak them into so many recipes.Add chia seeds to your favorite loaf of bread, such as lemon poppy seed, puddings, and even recipes that require dredging. You can add chia seeds to the flour when you move the meat from the egg mixture to the flour. You will never taste them, but they will still offer you numerous health benefits.
- Hemp seeds offer powerful cancer and heart disease prevention qualities. These seeds are loaded with protein and fiber, and they also contain omega-3 and healthy fatty acids.Hemp seeds are famous for their rather nutty flavor, so you might want to consider this before adding it to a smoothie or shake where you are likely to taste it. Instead, incorporate this seed into salads and entrée options.
- Sunflower seeds offer multiple health benefits. Rich in folate, selenium, copper and vitamin E, sunflower seeds help prevent against heart disease and cancer.Sunflower seeds, so long as they are organic and free of processing, are wonderful snacks on their own. You can also sprinkle them over a salad for a naturally and healthy salty flavor.
- Pumpkin seeds are ideal for your immune system. These seeds are rich in carotenoids, an antioxidant that works wonders for your intestines. These seeds also contain omega-3s, fatty acids, and zinc.Toast some pumpkin seeds in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and seasoning, and you have a deliciously healthy snack.
- Sesame seeds are known to lower blood pressure and protecting against liver damage. These seeds can also prevent many diseases, such as arthritis, migraine headaches, menopause, osteoporosis and even PMS symptoms.Sesame seed is also available in an oil form, which is wonderful for cooking. Ensure that you are purchasing an organic, non-processed product. You can sprinkle them over many dishes, including broiled salmon or sautéed vegetables.
In addition to these new and trendy nuts and seeds, there are still the age-old health guidelines to follow.
4. Know When to Stop Eating
Overeating puts your health at risk, especially if you are over the age of 50. Researchers found that centenarians, generally those in Okinawa, Japan, practice the ritual of eating slowly and stopping before they feel full. Granted, they eat a low calorie diet, but they also eat slower and ensure to stop when they feel satisfied.
How to Practice This Healthy Eating Habit
Slow down your pace. Eat slowly, make sure you are cutting up your food into small pieces, and chew as much as possible. Do your best to eat when you are not in a rush. Celebrate your meal by preparing it and sitting down to enjoy it slowly.
Once you practice eating slower, you will begin to recognize the feeling of satisfaction easier. Instead of rushing to eat all of your food, monitor your stomach. Stop when you feel satisfied, not stuffed.
5. Fat Isn’t All Bad
As discussed with many of the aforementioned nuts and seeds, healthy fats are essential to a long and healthy life. Too often people assume fats are bad. Instead, healthy fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can lower cholesterol, decrease your likelihood of heart disease, and increase your life expectancy.
In addition to finding these healthy fats in nuts and seeds, you can also find them in fatty meats, such as salmon and tuna. Olive oil contains healthy fats, as do eggs in moderation and avocados.
6. Low-Fat Dairy Products for Healthy Bones
As you age, you become more susceptible to bone loss and osteoporosis. These two conditions are the leading reasons for disability in the elderly. Generally speaking, once disabled, other health issues ensue, so bone health is of the utmost importance.
Bone loss with age is inevitable. However, calcium and vitamin D can slow down the process and help prevent the wearing of your bones’ health.
Incorporate low-fat dairy products daily. The body requires vitamin D in order to absorb calcium, so ensure not to focus solely on calcium. Boosting vitamin D as you age is significant. You might want to consider supplementation, as vitamin D can be difficult to find in diet alone.
Calcium, however, is easy to find. Dark, leafy vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli are excellent sources of calcium. Also, yogurt and milk are no brainers for calcium intake. You might want to give tofu a try, as well. Tofu is often made with calcium sulfate, depending on the brand.
7. It’s More Than Just the Food
Call it corny, but research studies on centenarians proves that not just what you eat, but how you eat your food is what really counts. Certainly, your mom always told you to chew carefully and slowly, but has anyone ever told you to enjoy your food?
Researchers examined the eating habits of centenarians around the world. The findings proved that social connections and finding meaning in living are both essential for living a long, healthy life. Sitting down with friends and family over a healthy meal can go a long way. Find your meaning for living through the warmth of good food and even better friends and family.
Healthy eating as you age doesn’t have to be complicated. Incorporate these age-old ingredients and concepts into your daily eating habits, with a new spin on the trendy health conscious foods, such as the seeds and nuts. You don’t have to try them all at once. Just pick one new healthy food each week, and give it a try. You may be surprised at how much you like it and how well you start to feel.
Do your best to enjoy your eating habits, and life in general, and you are sure to life a long, happy and healthy life.