It’s never too late to start eating healthily and a good diet doesn’t have to to be expensive or boring without any of your favourite treats.
As we enter later life it is important to eat well as it means you are more likely to feel healthier, stay active for longer and fight against illness. Eating healthier can also help with mobility and could be beneficial to stairlift users as some foods have been known to help aching joints and arthritis. People should eat foods from a variety of food groups and here we take you through some of the best foods to eat.
Eggs are regarded as one of the most nutritional foods in the world as a whole egg contains all the nutrients required as we age.
According to Authority Nutrition eggs contain a number of health benefits. One egg contains vitamin A, folate, vitamin B5, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium and zinc.
Authority Nutrition says: “Really eggs are pretty much the perfect food, they contain a little bit of almost every nutrient we need.
“If you can get your hands on pastured or Omega-3 enriched eggs, then these are even better. They have more Omega-3s and are much higher in Vitamin A and E (2, 3).”
Oily fish includes salmon, mackerel and sardines and these are all believed to have benefits for fighting against prostate cancer, dementia, heart disease and even vision loss which are problems that are more common as we grow older.
Vitamin D, protein, vitamin B, selenium and omega-3 are all found in oily fish and all have some health benefits.
Speaking on the NHS website Alison Hornby, a dietitian and BDA spokesperson, says: “The benefits of eating at least two portions of fish a week, including one of oily fish, include keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level and improving blood lipids, both of which reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease: the biggest killer in the UK.
“Remember that you can get your omega-3 from a range of oily fish. Tinned sardines and mackerel, for example, are an easy and cheap way to stock up the store cupboard. Eaten on toast with a side salad, this makes a quick, easy and nutritious meal.”
The Wholegrains Council says there are a range of benefits for eating oats and wholegrain and many of them are great for the older generation. Research has found that wholegrains can help lower bad cholesterol, control blood pressure, lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and improve the immune system.
Eating wholegrains and oats over breakfast is known to counteract hunger and it is a popular breakfast food too. One study in Australia found that out of the people surveyed they rated wholegrains and oats as the number one food for breakfast and third overall for making people feel satisfied and full.
Eating fruit has a wide variety of health benefits for older people as those who eat fruits are known to reduce their risk of suffering from some chronic diseases.
Most fruits are low in fat, calories and sodium and no fruits have cholesterol. They are also sources of essential nutrients that are commonly under consumed such as vitamin C and potassium.
By eating fruit on a regular basis people can reduced the risk of suffering heart disease, stroke, protect against certain types of cancers, type 2 diabetes, blood pressure and can help to decrease bone loss.
Organic Facts says: “The human body is an intricate system and hundreds of complex reactions take place in it all the time.
“For smooth functioning of the body, you need an ample amount of nutrients that are supplied by fruits in a natural way. When you become ill or develop any health disorders, these can be avoided or treated with a healthy diet rich in fruits.”
The nutrients found in vegetables are important for health and maintenance of your body and, especially for older people, eating a diet rich in vegetables can reduce the risk of suffering from a number of health complaints.
The Healthy Eating website, says: “Vegetables are important part of healthy eating and provide a source of many nutrients, including potassium, fibre, folate (folic acid) and vitamins A, E and C. Options like broccoli, spinach, tomatoes and garlic provide additional benefits, making them a superfood!”
These superfoods can help reduce the risk of suffering from cancer, type-2 diabetes and suffering from a stroke.
It is recommended for older people to eat around one to four cups of vegetables a day.
Beans provide a myriad of health benefits and despite being rich in complex carbs like breads and starches, they are actually part of the vegetable group.
Offering vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, like their veggie companions, they supply plenty of protein and are even cholesterol free.
Beans are known to be a heart-healthy food as they contain an abundance of soluble fibre and are low in fat. Most beans only contain two to three percent of fat and contain no cholesterol, unless they are processed.
Beans are also well-known for being a great food to eat for people looking to lose weight as they are metabolized more slowly than other complex carbs, meaning they keep people full without being extremely high in calories.
Despite recently being blamed for new health problems, the Authority Nutrition says: “We’ve been eating meat for a long time and blaming new health problems on old foods doesn’t make much sense.”
Humans are omnivores and it is widely considered that eating both plants and meat makes us function better. Meat has lots of health benefits as it is high in many nutrients containing vitamin B12, B3 (Niacin), B6, iron, zinc, selenium and various other vitamins and minerals. The Authority Nutrition experts also say that meat doesn’t raise the risk of Cardiovascular Disease or Diabetes and instead contains lots of quality protein.
A balanced diet is key to staying healthy in old age and although it is important to eat these foods, it doesn’t mean you should deny yourself the occasional treat.