Senior nutrition: Healthiest vegetables
Most seniors know the value of eating plenty of vegetables to maintain a healthy weight and protect against disease. But not all vegetables are equal, and some may have bigger health benefits than others. Check out a few of the healthiest vegetables and the benefits they can bring:
According to the National Institute of Health, broccoli is full of antioxidants, making it a very powerful vegetable. Antioxidants help rid the body of free radicals, which can break down cell function. Free radicals are also linked to a variety of chronic illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. Eating broccoli can aid in preventing stomach, lung and bladder cancer. Broccoli also contains high amounts of vitamin K and vitamin C, helping ward off illnesses such as the flu. There are many ways to prepare and enjoy broccoli, from eating it raw with other vegetables or salad dressing, to steaming it, to whipping up a winter favorite – broccoli cheddar soup.
Another dark green vegetable, brussel sprouts have vitamin C and K to boost the immune system. Like broccoli, they are essential in preventing cancer. Folic acid and fiber are both found in brussel sprouts and are beneficial for digestion.
For seniors, carrots are an especially important part of a diet because they promote better vision. They are one of the few vegetables with vitamin A, a rich source of antioxidants. Vitamin A works to protect eye function by producing the pigments in the retina. With an insufficient amount of vitamin A, a person is more vulnerable to vision problems and infectious diseases. Carrots can be eaten in a number of ways from fresh to cooked.
When it comes to green vegetables, the darker the leaf, the more nutrients there are packed within. Not only was spinach Popeye's source for iron and strength, it should be a staple in senior nutrition as well. Spinach also contains lutein, an antioxidant that is good for boosting the immune system and eye care. As far as cancer-fighting vegetables go, spinach is known as the most effective way to prevent the disease. Spinach can be eaten with almost anything and is easily cooked down.
As a newer trend among foodies, kale is quickly popping up as an menu option almost everywhere. Containing more vitamin C than an orange, kale can ward off colds and the flu. Surprisingly, kale also contains omega-3 fatty acids, the good kind of fat that can prevent cardiovascular disease.