March is National Nutrition Month, and the goal of this annual initiative is to raise awareness about healthy food choices and sound eating habits. Everyone can benefit from healthy eating, although many of us take food for granted. Seniors, however, may need to be more careful about the choices they make when it comes to nutrition.
Seniors with poor dietary habits do not just gain weight, they can also suffer from weakened bones, disproportionately diminished immune systems, digestive problems, and even decreased brain function. On the other hand, a nutritious diet can boost immune defenses and help alleviate many common senior health concerns.
Another benefit to healthy eating is that specific health improvements can be obtained by consuming certain nutrient-rich foods. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a group that helped found National Nutrition Month in 1973, eating certain high-nutrition foods can help prevent cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma and other eye problems, while boosting overall eye health.
1. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are not just an energy-rich source of complex carbohydrates, they also contain beta carotene which has been shown to slow the progress of macular degeneration. The human body further converts beta carotene into vitamin A, which helps reduce the risk of eye infections.
Kale is among the most nutrient-rich food source aging adults, and really anyone at any age, can consume. The leafy green vegetable is excellent for digestion, as well as eye health. Kale contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are related to vitamin A and beta carotene, and are believed to protect eye tissues from sun damage and lower the risk of cataracts.
Salmon is a prime source of omega-3 fatty acids. This works like a lubricant within the body that helps with everything from digestion, to brain activity and memory, to dry eyes. Salmon is also an excellent source of vitamin D, which also helps protect against macular degeneration.
Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and cherries are rich in antioxidants — the juicier the better. Not only do berries taste good, but they can help lower the risk of cataracts.
These are just four examples of food that hold special nutritional value for seniors. If you have any questions or would like some more suggestions, do not hesitate to reach out to us.