As we age, changing our diets and breaking poor eating habits is crucial to maintaining our independence, health and happiness. Fortunately, at Omaha Home Care Assistance, we’ve found that nuts, in moderation, are a healthy addition to any diet and can easily be incorporated into some of your favorite dishes. The following are the top three nuts beneficial for senior health:
By eating 23 of these flavorful nuts, seniors are provided with one-third of their daily Vitamin E dose. Why is vitamin E important? This particular vitamin holds many antioxidant qualities and can combine with oxygen to destroy free-radical molecules (the unstable compounds that damage the cell structure), helping to improve immunity. Seniors with high levels of vitamin E also enjoy additional benefits such as reduced risk for developing cancer, heart disease and high cholesterol. Spread almond butter on your toast instead of peanut butter or finely grind and sprinkle over casseroles and baked pasta dishes.
Seniors can protect their heart health by eating walnuts. Packed with the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, Omaha senior care studies show that by incorporating walnuts in your diet, you can shield your heart from disease and other chronic conditions. Seniors with high levels of ALA also enjoy better posture, as the fatty acid decreases the rate of bone breakdown, making it easier to stand straight. Finally, walnuts are a great way to improve your cholesterol levels without increasing your weight. Not sure if you like walnuts on their own? Stir walnuts into oatmeal or cereal for breakfast or coat fish or poultry with chopped walnuts and herbs for a savory dinner.
While pistachios are often consumed by individuals watching their weight (each pistachio only holds three calories!), this nut offers many benefits to seniors. Pistachios are filled with lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamins that help reduce the leading cause of blindness in Americans over 65, age-related macular degeneration. A recent Harvard study has also reported that your heart will enjoy many benefits by eating pistachios regularly including reduced chance of heart disease, decreased cholesterol levels and an increase in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Top off a salad with a few shelled pistachios or create a trail mix pistachios, dried fruits and oats.
When selecting nuts at the grocery store, try to avoid those that are packaged or roasted in oil. The roasting process is only successful when intense heat is used, heat that often removes all of the essential vitamins and nutrients in the nuts. It is also best to avoid nuts that are salted. Instead, look to purchase nuts that are raw or dry roasted.
What are your favorite healthy snacks? Share them with us! As the leader of in-home care in Omaha, we’re always looking for other great nutritional tips to pass onto our senior clients and their families.