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Super foods are nutrient-packed powerhouses, yet, even without any solid medical definition, it is common knowledge that people who eat super foods are healthier than others. When you think of super foods, sweet potatoes, blueberries and avocadoes come to mind but there may be as many as 50 or more of these powerful foods around. But let’s focus on five specific groups of super foods recommended for a senior citizen’s diet, primarily to reduce inflammation—the single biggest cause of fatigue and autoimmune disease which overwhelms the body as we age.
Omega-3 fatty acids is the darling of scientists and physicians; when eaten as a part of a healthy diet, omega-3 fatty acids have proven to reduce inflammation that causes a host of diseases such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis.
A rich source of Omega-3 fatty acid is flax seed and its oil. The seeds should be crushed (a mortar and pestle work best) then added to breakfast cereals, juices, smoothies and mixed into salads. Walnuts and avocadoes are also fantastic options. Fatty fish like sardines is also a good option, but due to the controversial mercury content in fish it’s not the ‘go to source’ for this nutrient.
Garbanzo beans (chick peas), black beans, red (kidney beans) peas, lentils, adzuki, and peanuts are all densely packed with vitamins and minerals so their anti-inflammatory properties fight off invaders. One-to-two servings (at least half-cup cooked peas) per day are recommended.
Garlic is renowned for its antibiotic, anti-inflammatory properties and is nature’s best immune system booster. Both garlic and rosemary can be added together, finely chopped and served with a variety of foods and salads. Ginger can also be cooked in foods, blended in juices and smoothies and also makes an intensely flavored tea.
All vegetables are rich in disease fighting properties, but some are richer in polyphenols per surface area than other types, combined. Beet root, sweet potato and the cruciferous vegetables are in this group of super foods, superb for colorful salads and full-bodied juices.
Grains that are not highly processed reduce spikes in blood sugar, the main trigger of inflammation, and are the perfect foods for diabetics. Avoid such foods as quick oats and fast cooking ‘brown’ rice.
Caregivers can consider incorporating these targeted nutrients in their senior parents’ diet to boost health.
At United Methodist Homes we provide healthy living options made by award winning chefs for meals that our residents enjoy. If you are interested in learning more about our meal programs please visit our website or contact us to learn more!
In 1998, I drove past an assisted living community construction site, learned that it was part of United Methodist Homes and realized the next stop on my professional journey was to work for a mission driven organization. Soon after, I joined the team as Executive Director of our Middlewoods of Farmington community and later served as Regional Manager for the Middlewoods properties before accepting my current role as Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, walking, and love working alongside our staff, residents, and families to build strong communities that reflect the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.