9 foods that will help you stay in shape as you age

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a must to stay active and enjoy all life has to offer as we age, and you can definitely live a more sustainable and healthier life by focusing on what you eat.

Considering the slow metabolism and already-established lifestyle choices, it may be quite challenging for people of age to stay fit. However, don’t fret, as there are nine foods that can help you maintain your shape as you age. Just ensure you add them to your diet! 

1. Eggs

First on the list is this wonder – eggs! This superfood is an excellent source of protein. In fact, you can get over six grams of protein by only eating a single large egg [1]. Eggs have a bunch of essential amino acids that help with muscle repair and growth [2]. 

The benefits of eggs as you age do not stop there as they are also a rich source of choline, which refers to a critical nutrient for muscular health. Choline is known to be present in the whites of eggs which can aid in muscle function and development. With regular consumption of eggs, you can surely secure strong muscles when you get old! 

2. Oatmeal

The chances are you are already eating a bowl of oatmeal every morning for breakfast, so keep it up! Oatmeal is a popular, delicious breakfast rich in soluble fiber that promotes heart health and controls dips in blood sugar. It is a complex carbohydrate that can provide sustained energy needed for physical activity. 

Eating a small bowl of oatmeal paired with fresh fruit can make a terrific pre-workout meal. It is jam-packed with nutritional value to help you achieve your fitness goals and support muscular endurance as you age. Plus, oatmeal is easy to chew and digest, so elders don’t have to worry about gaining weight. 

9 foods that will help you stay in shape as you age

3. Berries

Sometimes it can be hard and time-consuming to choose and prep your meals to get all the needed nutrients and vitamins your aging body needs; hence, having a box of berries with you is always a good idea. 

Berries are considered to provide one-stop nutrition for the elderly with their rich fiber, vitamin C and anti-inflammatory, antioxidant flavonoid contents. Fiber generally maintains weight and protects the body against the development of fatal diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer, which you become susceptible to as you age. 

A 2020 research found that people who had a low intake of flavonoid-rich foods, particularly apples, berries and tea, were two to four times more vulnerable to developing dementia [3]. In a more recent study in 2022, the researchers discovered that eating 100 grams or about a cup of fresh cranberries every day helps prevent cardiovascular disease [4]. 

4. Salmon 

Consider changing your dinner menu to fatty fish, as it is excellent for cognitive function. Different kinds of fatty fish, such as salmon, albacore tuna, herring and farmed trout, are high in DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that can help better your brain health. Having low levels of DHA in the body is known to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Meanwhile, if you consume more DHA, your memory and ability to learn new things are boosted. 

Salmon is among the best kinds and healthiest fatty fish, which can provide a good number of protein and nutrient contents. This fatty fish offers various health benefits, like promoting muscle protein synthesis [5]. 

The omega-3 fatty acid found in salmon has anti-inflammatory properties that can help lower muscle soreness and improve recovery. Moreover, these anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce the risk of age-related chronic diseases and enhance overall health and well-being.

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5. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are delicious snacks perfect while watching television or working in the afternoon. However, these snacks are not just plain stomach fillers! Nuts and seeds are jam-packed with protein and fiber that can help in making you feel full to eat less. 

Additionally, nuts and seeds are great sources of healthy fats, including walnuts, flax meal and chia seeds; these all have ALA omega-3 fats that can be converted to EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. Following what was mentioned earlier, a regular intake of omega-3 fats can protect and boost brain health [6]. A 2021 study suggests that eating one serving of nuts can give you an extra 26 minutes of healthy life compared to eating a hot dog, which can reduce your healthy life by 36 minutes [7]. 

Eating a handful of nutritious nuts and seeds can help support healthy aging. Their nutritional content, which includes fiber, vitamins, minerals, heart-healthy fats and other essential nutrients, can ultimately provide anti-inflammatory and lipid-lowering benefits [8].

6. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes, delicious root vegetables, are a fantastic source of complex carbohydrates that can provide sustained energy needed for exercise or workouts. Hence, eating sweet potatoes can definitely boost your workout routines while still feeling full without a sugar crash. 

Additionally, sweet potatoes are perfect for older adults because of their high fiber and nutritional content. These root vegetables have over six grams of fiber in only a single large sweet potato. Also, you can get beta carotene from eating sweet potatoes, which turn into vitamin A when consumed by the body. Beta carotene is key for healthy eyesight and skin and strengthens your immune system. 

Your immune system may weaken as you age, and sweet potatoes can surely help! By adding sweet potatoes to your diet, you can reap health benefits that can benefit immunity and digestive health [9]. 

9 foods that will help you stay in shape as you age

7. Avocados

Tasty and healthy food? You better sign up to eat avocados every day! According to a Harvard study conducted for 30 years on 110,000 people, eating two servings of avocados every week may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in comparison to those who rarely eat them [10].

Avocados are known to have heart-healthy fats, fiber and several vitamins and minerals that are important for optimal health. This fruit’s high content of monounsaturated fat is found to be helpful in promoting healthy skin, which can help in the signs of aging on the skin. The monounsaturated fat in avocados supports healthy skin membranes, while their antioxidants may fight free radicals that may damage and age the skin. 

A study showed that a diet rich in plant-based fats is associated with better and healthier skin in older adults [11]. With their delicious taste and versatility, adding avocados to your diet can be that easy in order for you to get in extra nutrition for healthy skin. 

8. Tomatoes

Eating tomatoes regularly may provide you with many promising health benefits, which are attributed to their high lycopene content. Lycopene refers to a type of carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red color. It also serves as an antioxidant to help lower the risk of different chronic diseases. Pairing tomatoes with healthy fats, including olive oil or avocado, can significantly promote the body’s absorption of lycopene [12]. 

Research on human skin samples showed that lycopene in tomatoes might also provide a very little amount of protection against the damaging rays of the sun. However, the claimed protection from tomatoes is significantly lower than using sunscreen [13]. 

In another study angle on tomatoes, the researchers looked at women who drank an antioxidant-rich beverage containing lycopene, soy isoflavones, fish oil and vitamins C and E every day and found that there was a significant decrease in wrinkle depth after 15 weeks [14]. On the other hand, the study can’t directly link lycopene to the skin benefits, as the beverage contained several other ingredients, as mentioned. 

9. Dark leafy greens

As you grow old, your bones become softer and weak, which would need calcium. You can get calcium from either low-fat dairy or dark-green leafy vegetables, such as kale, arugula, broccoli and spinach. Dark leafy greens are found to be rich in fiber that appears to promote muscle function and heart health. 

A March 2021 Australian study published in the Journal of Nutrition discovered that people who ate only one cup of nitrate-rich leafy green vegetables on a daily basis developed stronger lower limbs by 11 percent [15]. In another recent study from Denmark, the researchers studied over 50,000 people within a 23-year period and found that those who consumed dark leafy greens had reduced their risk of heart disease by 12 to 26 percent [16]. 

To add more evidence, a study published in the journal Neurology suggests that people with the highest levels of antioxidant intake found in green leafy vegetables may be less likely to develop dementia [17]. 

Dark leafy green vegetables like spinach are considered to be one of the most nutritious foods found on the planet. Spinach refers to a nutrient-dense leafy green high in iron that is significant in delivering oxygen to muscles during exercise. Also, this kind of dark leafy green is good for aging adults because of its high iron content. Iron is known to support cognitive function and energy levels, especially in elderlies. The anti-inflammatory properties of spinach can also lower the risk of age-related chronic diseases.

[1] https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171287/nutrients 
[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35945651/
[3] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200505121701.htm 
[4] https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/100g-cranberries-day-improves-cardiovascular-health 
[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7259043/
[6] https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2017/pecan-health-benefits-fd.html 
[7] https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/sustainablefoodsystems/2021/09/03/a-hot-dog-could-cost-you-36-minutes-of-healthy-life/ 
[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8539485/ 
[9] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19335713/ 
[10] https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.121.024014 
[11] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28112767/ 
[12] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33668703/ 
[13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6566388/ 
[14] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23927381 
[15] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210324132309.htm 
[16] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210504112604.htm 
[17] https://n.neurology.org/content/98/21/e2150 

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