With summer fast approaching, a bounty of fresh foods will soon be bursting forth in gardens and making their way onto our plates. But which of these foods provides the best choice for health, particularly among the aging population? Let’s take a look at some nutritious summer favorites and what they mean for senior health.
Berries come in a plethora of sizes, shapes, and colors. Whether we choose strawberries, raspberries, or that “power-fruit” we know as the blueberry, berries deliver phytochemicals such as anthocyanidins and antioxidants. These compounds help protect our cells from damage, and in some cases, can help to ward off certain types of cancer. Additionally, recent research suggests that these same compounds can even play a role in preventing Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s.
Corn is another sweet favorite of summer, and two powerful antioxidants – lutein and zeaxanthin – can help to fight macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of vision loss over age 60. Corn also delivers insoluble fiber, which is vital for good digestive health.
Tomatoes can be found in abundance throughout the summer season, and they have long been shown to improve cholesterol counts, lowering both LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Data has also demonstrated that tomatoes may help prevent atherosclerosis, the arterial blockages that can lead to heart attacks.
Another powerhouse summer vegetable is spinach. These dark, leafy greens provide antioxidants that, when consumed in abundance, have been proven to reduce the risk of cataracts by 50%. In addition to necessary vitamins such as vitamin A and folate, spinach is an exceptional source of vitamin K, which is crucial to the process of blood clotting
Rounding out our list of favorites is watermelon. This delicious fruit is 92% water, providing vital hydration properties on hot, sunny days. Ensuring proper fluid intake during warm months can be a challenge, and including watermelon in the summer diet is an easy and tasty way to stave off the effects of dehydration.
For more information about senior care, contact the Omaha home care specialists at Home Care Assistance. We offer flexible hourly and live-in care to seniors in the comfort of home, helping with a wide range of activities from housekeeping and personal care to medication reminders and transportation. Call 402-763-9140 to speak with a Care Manager and schedule a free, in-home consultation.