The key to graceful aging is not only exercising on a regular basis but also choosing the right foods as the focal points for your daily diet. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are chalk full of vitamins and minerals that will promote organ health, improve skin tone, and increase energy levels. In fact, there are a few foods that are considered such nutritional powerhouses that they should be included in the meals of anyone who is seeking optimal health through time.
1) Cruciferous Green Vegetables
Are you a salad lover looking for more variety in your basic components? Try some cruciferous green vegetables, which are full of iron, calcium, and a variety of other nutrients. Spinach and kale are both good choices, but adventurous eaters may also wish to branch out and try mustard greens or even dandelion greens. Most of these vegetables can be found at your local grocery store, but stopping in at an organic health food store will provide you with even more choices. Cruciferous vegetables are also loaded with antioxidants, which are effective at neutralizing various chemicals that degrade the genetic material within cells.
Almonds are versatile enough to be used in a variety of dishes. Though they are somewhat high in calories, they contain large amounts of heart-healthy fat and protein. They can be sprinkled over salads or roasted to perfection in the oven. While almonds are the very best the nut family has to offer, you will also not go wrong with walnuts, chestnuts, or even pine nuts.
Long-ignored outside the spicy dishes of the American Southwest, this beautifully creamy fruit is one of the best available options for your heart as you age. Known also as an alligator pear for its visual appearance, it can be used as the basis for guacamole or placed in the middle of a whole-grain sandwich for some extra kick. Avocados are high in several of the B vitamins and contain modest amounts of fiber, which helps with digestion. The Hass avocado, which is the most common variety, can be found in the produce sections of nearly all supermarkets.
4) Sweet Potatoes
One of the ways to identify natural foods that are packed with nutrients is to examine their color. Very brightly colored foods contain copious amounts of vitamins and minerals and are usually healthier than their bland counterparts. While ordinary potatoes are a staple in most households, sweet potatoes in fact contain larger amounts of important nutrients, especially vitamin A. Those individuals who have reached the middle parts of their lives may well switch over to these “alternate” potatoes, which can even help with maintaining good eyesight.
Many nutritionists feel that salmon is the best available meat product on the market. It is a lean protein and is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which is healthful for most of the body’s organs. Salmon can be baked to perfection and subtly sprinkled with lemon pepper or a variety of other spices. It can also be cooked, cubed, and added to a green salad for a perfectly robust meal.
6) Citrus Fruits
The world of citrus contains several fruits that are high in vitamin C, which is important for shining skin. Though oranges are the most popular, a juicy grapefruit can gracefully complement most breakfast spreads. Alternatively, you can also buy grapefruit juice or orange juice by the quart. If you are watching your calorie intake, be sure that you measure your juice portions carefully.
If you have recently decided to follow a vegetarian diet, then you will likely become familiar with tofu. This food, which is ultimately derived from the soybean, is high in protein and low in fat. It can be added to salads or lightly fried in oil until it reaches a lovely golden brown color. It can also be added to Chinese stir-fry dishes as a wonderful complement to bell peppers, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts. If you are going to cook it, be sure to choose the firm variety, which is sturdier and not as likely to fall apart.
Choose a berry and you simply can’t go wrong. Many professional nutritionists, in fact, believe that berries are much more potent at slowing down the aging process than originally thought. Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries all contain natural sugars, which are much healthier for the body than the granulated sugars that are universally added to high-calorie desserts. Blueberries, in fact, are quite high in antioxidants and even contain beneficial amounts of the needed daily fiber.
Ultimately, eating these eight foods will surely give your body its required nutrients. By planning meals ahead of time, you should be able to develop dishes that revolve around healthy ingredients. Combined with physical exercise and other lifestyle changes, you will better retain your health into your golden years.