High cholesterol? Fuzzy brain?
Find the foods that might help prevent and manage the things that bother you most.
What is a superfood? Is it something, like Superman, that changes identity in order to save the world? Well, not exactly. Spinach was introduced in the 1950s as the first Superfood (remember Popeye?). The Superfoods that are emerging today don’t have a whole cartoon series to promote them, but many of them are getting lots of cheerleading from different areas. And sometimes the information we get seems a bit overwhelming. Is wine good or bad for you? How can chocolate, full of sugar and fat, be a Superfood? And I thought we were supposed to be eliminating oils from our diet; why is olive oil suddenly a hero?
Here, we present five Superfoods and their primary benefits to help you decide which option will best support your individual health needs.
As we age, the following nutrients become increasingly important:
- Antioxidants act within the body to play a role in preventing cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis.
- Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation that causes many diseases including heart disease, cancer and arthritis; also significantly reduce brain decline.
- Fiber (soluble) helps reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A, essential for healthy skin and eyes; may also reduce the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. Anthocyanin: gives some fruits their dark color; helps improve memory and cognition as well has helped improve balance and coordination.
With those key nutrients in mind, here are foods that could be considered the top five choices for older adults:
Frozen or fresh, blueberries and other dark fruits like plums and blackberries help combat heart disease and cancer and may boost brain power. Blueberries also help prevent urinary tract infections.
The native Inuits of Alaska are free of heart disease, and studies show their diet, high in fish, is probably the cause. SalmonInuits of Alaska are free of heart disease, and studies show their diet, high in fish, is probably the cause. Salmon is particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids but all cold-water species such as tuna, mackerel and sardines, are low in saturated
fat and high in protein.
Considerable evidence shows that eating one ounce a day of walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios or peanuts may reduce the risk of heart disease. Nuts are rich sources of unsaturated fats and are concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Research shows that monosaturated fat, which olive oil contains profusely, lowers cholesterol levels and may also help keep insulin levels low and improve the control of blood sugar. This healthy fat also contains vitamin K, which aids blood clotting, and vitamin E, an antioxidant.
In moderation, red wine contains a compound that likely helps activate genes that slow cellular aging. It also contains
bioflavonoids, phenols, resveratrol, and tannins, which have antioxidant and anticlotting properties. Studies have shown red wine can also protect against heart disease, diabetes and age-related memory loss.