nutrition month Archives - Mantachie Rural Health Care, Inc.
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Delicious Foods to Protect Your Health Over 50

Delicious Foods to Protect Your Health Over 50

Aging isn’t for the faint of heart. Between sagging skin and higher risks of chronic health conditions, our bodies are fighting more than time once we click past the half-century mark. But you still have a lot of life to live and adventures to take, so buckle up for a drive through some delicious food territory that will tickle your taste buds and keep your mind and body active for decades to come.

Fish

Let’s start with something versatile and delicious: fish! Particularly fatty fish like salmon, albacore tuna, herring and farmed trout. Try to eat fish at least twice a week. These main dishes are filled with DHA, which is good for your brain. If you aren’t a fish fan, other great sources of DHA include walnuts, flaxseed, and chia seed. 

Protein

Keeping on the theme of main dishes, protein helps you fight muscle and bone loss, but don’t rely on processed meats or too many protein powders. Eggs, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, and poultry provide your body with superior nutrition without the extra salt and additives that could increase your risk of heart disease and cancer. Varying your protein options keeps you from getting bored with your food choices and reduces the chances you’ll slip back those processed easy foods.

Calcium

Sure milk and cheese are yummy ways to reach your goal of 1200 milligrams of calcium per day, but why limit yourself? Yogurt, rice, soy drinks, fortified orange juice, tofu, and broccoli can help you reach your goal too. Did you know cooked broccoli releases even more health benefits for your body? Roast some in the oven, cook it in a sauce, or throw it on the grill for a different take on this green veggie.

Fruit

What goes better with yogurt, cubed cheese, or a smoothie than your favorite fruits. Every fruit offers unique benefits to your health. Red fruits like watermelon and strawberries are rich in lycopene which could lower your risk of cancer and may protect you against strokes. Blueberries hit everyone’s “must eat” list because they are rich in vitamins A and C as well as antioxidants like anthocyanin and compounds that lower inflammation. Citrus fruits have anti-inflammatory properties and may help protect you against some cancers. You’ll receive the most benefit from eating all these fruits fresh instead of cooked into pastries.

Cabbage and Cruciferous Vegetables

Our immune health has taken a front seat in recent months, and nothing could be better for bolstering your immune system than foods in the cabbage family. Don’t like cabbage itself? No problem. This family includes a wide variety of vegetables such as kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and radishes as well as maybe less known choices such as arugula, bok choy, horseradish, rutabaga, turnips, watercress, and wasabi. Many of these also fall into the “dark leafy green” category which means they do double duty to protect your eyes, memory, and thinking. Look for creative ways to cook any of these vegetables including roasting them, eating them in salads, or mixing them into other dishes.

Fiber and Whole Grains

So far we’ve built a pretty tasty plate with fish, fruit, cheese, and some roasted veggies, but you still need to add fiber and whole grains to your diet. Many of the foods we’ve already mentioned include much of the fiber you need, but as you age you need more fiber than before. Men over 50 should aim for 30 grams of fiber a day, and women should aim for 21 grams. Fiber not only helps keep your digestive system regular, but it lowers cholesterol, helps manage your blood sugar, and keeps your weight healthy. Whole grains provide another great source of fiber plus they add B-6 and folate to keep your brain healthy. You’re not limited to whole wheat bread, though. Quinoa, wheat berries, and whole-wheat couscous can add variety to your diet.

Spice It Up

Spices not only add delicious flavor to your foods, but they provide benefits all on their own. As you age, your sense of taste and smell change. You’re more likely to lose sensitivity to salty and bitter foods first, which may drive you to oversalt foods or lean toward sweets instead. You can up the flavor of your foods with non-salt spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, rosemary, and garlic. 

Water

As you age, you won’t notice your thirst as often as you once did. This leads senior adults to be more vulnerable to dehydration. Aim to drink eight 8-ounce cups of water a day. Add fruit juice, tea, soup, and those fruits and vegetables with high water content to help you reach your goal if needed. 

Finding the right mix of nutritious, yummy foods to meet your unique dietary needs can be a challenge, especially if you have high blood pressure or diabetes. We have a registered dietcian, Erica Witcher, on our staff. When you meet with our doctor or nurse practitioners, her services are included with your visit at no additional charge. Request your appointment with both our nurse practitioner and dietitian by calling (662) 282-4226.


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