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2 Healthy Vegetables for Seniors

By Lee Nyberg, 9:00 am on

With age, many seniors need an adequate dose of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to keep a number of health conditions at bay. Omaha senior care experts suggest adding these 2 vegetables to your aging loved one’s diet to help him or her stay active, healthy, and happy.

1. Red Bell Peppers

Senior Bonuses

  • Combat wrinkles
  • Prevent osteoporosis
  • Reduce arthritic pain
  • Control diabetes
  • Lower cholesterol and blood pressure

Red bell peppers are harvested and ripened green peppers and are rich in vitamin C, containing twice the amount of green varieties. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vitamin C in red bell peppers helps combat wrinkles, and vitamin E maintains a youthful glow in the skin.

Red bell peppers are packed with lycopene, a red plant pigment which prevents bone fractures caused by osteoporosis. Vitamin K in peppers strengthens bones, and capsaicin relieves the chronic pain of arthritis. It also controls diabetes.

Lutein and zeaxanthin ward off AMD in senior eyes. Potassium in red bell peppers lowers blood pressure, promoting cardiovascular health.

Ramp Up the Benefits of Red Bell Peppers

Before eating, wash peppers under running water to remove surface pesticides. Use a commercial vegetable wash to eliminate wax. To protect the pepper’s vitamins and antioxidants, avoid cooking at a high temperature. You can safely microwave peppers or steam them until they’re tender-crisp. Raw pepper is another tasty option.

2. Asparagus

Senior Bonuses

  • Protects hearing
  • Enhances memory
  • Relieves edema
  • Prevents diabetes

Asparagus is high in folate, also termed B9, a vitamin essential for hearing. Research cited in the Journal of Nutrition found low folate linked to a 35 percent greater risk of hearing loss in adults age 50+. 

Vitamin B12 is also vital for hearing, and an Australian study conducted at the University of Sydney showed insufficient B12 increased the risk of hearing loss by 39 percent. Asparagus makes up for B12 deficit, which tends to occur in seniors since their ability to absorb B12 decreases with age.

Folate in asparagus boosts recall and cognition by lowering homocysteine. A Tufts University study revealed subjects with high homocysteine had corresponding memory decline. Those who ate folate-rich foods retained sharp recollection. 

According to MedlinePlus, abnormal swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet, termed as edema, is common in the elderly. Asparagus counteracts edema, acting as a natural diuretic. Chromium in asparagus prevents diabetes by aiding the action of insulin.

Amplify the Benefits of Asparagus

Asparagus is highly perishable and rapidly loses moisture after harvesting. To keep it from spoiling, wrap the ends of stalks in damp paper towels and store in the fridge. Also, eat asparagus within two days of purchase. Alternatively, you can buy the delicious spears frozen. The best way to prepare asparagus is by microwaving in three tablespoons of water. You can also steam a serving of spears in one-half cup of water for five minutes. The short cooking time and minimal water prevent nutrient loss.

When preparing a vegetable-rich diet for your aging loved one, make sure to consult his or her doctor first. If you’re in need of reliable and professional respite or live-in caregivers in Omaha, NE, to prepare healthy and nutritious meals for your senior loved one, call Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers provide meal preparation, light housekeeping, medication reminders, and transportation for medical appointments to enhance quality of life in seniors. To learn more about our services, call us today at (402) 763-9140.