As we grow and get older, we don’t just change our not wardrobe and taste in music that change. As a matter of fact, researchers say that after age 30, not only does our metabolism begins to gradually decline, we even have to be more selective about the foods we eat hereby. There’s less room for empty calories from sugary drinks, desserts, and snacks, and a greater demand for foods with a high nutrient-to-calorie ratio. At the same time, many people develop a greater appreciation for healthy eating as they age, and they’re on the hunt for multitasking foods. Which can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and protect against diseases like type 2 diabetes.
Eating a variety of whole foods really is the key to a healthy diet. But some foods, including those highlighted below, offer more nutritional bang for your buck than others. Powerhouse ingredients like beans and leafy greens supply much-needed vitamins and minerals. They help the body stay metabolically fit, making them terrific everyday staples for the 50+ crowd. That’s not to say that these foods come with an age limit. Whether you’re 4 or 94, these picks provide premium fuel to energize your body.
There aren’t any big surprises or trendy ingredients on this list, and that’s completely intentional. All of these featured foods are relatively affordable and readily available, which means their health benefits are well within reach.
Research shows that eating a daily serving of beans or lentils (3/4 cup) can help to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by 5 per cent. Another study in people with type 2 diabetes found that eating about a cup of beans or lentils per day, as part of a healthy diet lowered haemoglobin A1c, a marker of blood sugar control, by 0.5 per cent, which is a substantial improvement. Need a simple way to introduce more beans into your diet? Toss canned, low-sodium beans with whole-grain pasta and sauteed veggies for a quick weeknight meal, or try some of these other easy ideas.
The risk for heart disease increases dramatically in men over 45 and women over 55, so incorporating more cholesterol-lowering foods like oats into your diet is a smart move. Oats are rich in a type of soluble fibre named beta-glucan. Consuming at least 3 grams of this fibre a day (equivalent to 1.5 cups cooked oatmeal) shows to reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels by 5 to 10 per cent. People who eat oats and other whole grains regularly are also at reduced risk of dying an early death. Plain oats are cheaper than boxed cereals and a perfect conduit for other healthy ingredients, like nuts, seeds, and fruit.
Sure, they’re not as glamorous as acai berries or mangosteen, but apples are every bit as super as exotic fruits, and much, much cheaper. A large apple supplies 5 grams of heart-healthy fibre, and research shows that eating apples daily can lower both total and LDL cholesterol to help keep your ticker in tip-top shape. A 2013 study found that frequent apple eaters are at lower risk for type 2 diabetes. And the good news is, you can find apples almost everywhere, including gas stations and convenience stores. Slice one up and add a smear of peanut butter for a classic snack that never gets old.
Snacking on nuts instead of chips, crackers, and cookies is an easy way to give your diet a major upgrade. A 2013 randomized controlled trial conducted in Spain found that eating an ounce of mixed nuts daily as part of Mediterranean-style diet reduced the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease by 28 per cent. And don’t forget that peanuts count, too. They’re equally healthy & cost about half as much as almonds and other tree nuts. Another easy way to get in a daily serving: Use chopped, toasted nuts as a garnish for roasted vegetables or whole grain sides like brown rice and quinoa.
Water. Not a food, you say? Think of it as one. As you get older, you may not drink enough water because you don’t feel as thirsty as you used to.
“Water is so underappreciated. Our bodies are mostly water. If you’re chronically dehydrated, just think of what your cells would look like,” says Robin Foroutan, a New York nutritionist. “You can’t think as clearly, you get fatigued more easily, you don’t tolerate heat as well.