Foods for a longer and healthier life

Senior nutrition can have a lasting impact on overall wellness and life expectancy. While exercising is also essential for living a longer life, keeping a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean protein and whole grains can keep your body in better shape, improve memory function and reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke and disease. According to the American Heart Association, 90 percent of people fail to eat a heart-healthy diet regularly. Adding a few super foods into your diet for your heart and memory care will not only improve your health overall, but it may help you live longer.

This super food has high amounts of lutein, vitamin B6, C and E, protein, folic acid, magnesium and potassium that are good for senior wellness. While they have a higher fat content, avocados can actually help reduce bad cholesterol in the body and promote heart health. High cholesterol in seniors can be troublesome if other heart disease signs are present, and lowering cholesterol is the best approach toward reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke. A medium avocado has around 275 calories and can be eaten many ways, even as a healthy swap for mayonnaise in sandwiches.

All fruits are beneficial for good health, but bananas contain high amounts of potassium and fiber, which can help you stay full. With 120 calories, bananas also have vitamin A and B6, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine and folic acid. As a snack, eating a banana before exercising can provide a boost of energy. It is recommended that adults eat four-and-a-half cups of fruit everyday, which can be hard to do for some. Adding bananas to a fruit smoothie is an easy and tasty way to get a few servings at once.

If you don't have an allergy, nuts can be a great snack addition to your diet. They are high in protein and can help control blood glucose and lipids. Walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds and peanuts are all high in calories, but they pack a punch with heart healthy benefits and fiber. Foods with more fiber are great for senior nutrition as they can help keep you full longer and make it easier to maintain a healthy weight. The American Heart Association recommends eating four servings of nuts per week.

Olive Oil
One tablespoon of olive oil contains 120 calories and has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the risk of heart disease and prevent cancer. The American Academy of Neurology found that seniors who use olive oil regularly in their cooking and diets have a reduced risk of stroke by as much as 41 percent. As an easy and inexpensive way to keep your body healthy and prevent disease, add olive oil in your diet either while cooking, as a salad dressing or with bread to gain its benefits.

Whole grain bread
Rather than eating refined grains that process out some of the health benefits, whole grain breads contain the entire grain kernel and are good sources of fiber. Foods that are high in fiber can lower cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. Whole grain bread and other products can aid in digestive health and make you feel fuller longer. While food shopping, look for the first few ingredients in the products for whole grains like wheat and oats, graham flour, brown and wild rice, whole rye and whole-grain barley.

Studies have shown that red wine in moderation can have anti-inflammatory properties that fight cancer and aging. A study by the University of Florida showed that red wine may even shrink tumors. One glass or two a few times a week can give you plenty of antioxidants and be beneficial for heart health by increasing blood flow.