Eating a well-balanced diet is an important part of staying healthy as you age. It can help you maintain a healthy weight and ensure you get the required nutrients needed to stay active. Proper nutrition also reduces the chances of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses.
Fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs provide a wealth of health benefits and make the perfect light meal for the warmer spring and summer months. Consider these delicious additions.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a single avocado provides 20 different vitamins and minerals, including 26 percent of the daily allowance of vitamin K and 20 percent of the daily allowance of folate. They are also a good source of vitamin C and vitamin B12 and contain more potassium than a banana.
Avocados can help reduce total cholesterol and triglyceride levels and raise good cholesterol. They are in season from February until September.
Kale is a super green that's high in fiber and has zero fat. It can help with digestion and, according to Healthline, it is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. It’s easy to incorporate these greens into your diet, and residents of Park Regency in Loveland can sign up for cooking classes in the country kitchen to learn how.
Blueberries are packed with antioxidants that do everything from keep your heart strong to enhance your brain health. Blueberries can help fight cancer, alleviate inflammation and help support digestion. They are super-sweet and low in calories, and you can eat them straight out of the pack, use them in smoothies or add them to salads. Harvest season runs from April to November.
A member of the lily family, asparagus is an excellent source of fiber, and it contains chromium, which enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the blood into the cells. It serves as a natural diuretic and contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Roasting is the most popular method to eat this vegetable. Simply drizzle it with olive oil and add seasoning. Peak asparagus season is in April.
Nutty and earthy in flavor, lentils are low in calories and easy to prepare. They contain high levels of soluble fiber to lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease, and they are packed with protein, which makes them ideal for vegans and vegetarians. Lentils are typically planted in early spring and harvested in late summer.
6. Sweet Potatoes
A single medium-sized sweet potato contains over 400 percent of your daily vitamin A requirement, according to Medical News Today. They are high in fiber and potassium and are low in calories. Sweet potatoes may assist in maintaining a healthy blood pressure, and because they are high in fiber, they also help prevent constipation. They can be found late during summer through October.
Available in the middle of summer, ginger is an edible root that can be used to help with nausea, reduce muscle pain and soreness and reduce inflammation. It is high in potassium and fiber and is an excellent source of copper, manganese and vitamin C.
Aside from these choices, there are plenty of additional fruits, vegetables and herbs that can be added to a healthy diet. Our assisted living community includes flexible dining times and a restaurant-style experience, so you can choose which food options work best for you.
As a reminder: always talk to your health care provider when making major changes to your diet — even seemingly healthy ones.