Nutrition research has found that what you eat has a direct effect on your ability to resist disease and live a long, healthy life. Eating healthy foods is particularly important in your later years, as cellular processes slow down and the ability to fight off disease and infection becomes less efficient. If you want to be in a position to make the most of your retirement years, eat these foods for your optimum physical and mental condition:

Kale

Kale is one of those green, leafy vegetables that are always recommended by nutrition experts. The reason kale has hit public attention is such a big way is that it is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. It provides vitamin A, C, K, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese and iron. Kale is high in fiber to help lower cholesterol and improve digestive health. Kale also contains a large amount of water, which can help you to lose weight. It can be used in salads, added to cooked vegetables and made into chips for snacking. Eating kale is an easy way to ensure you are getting many of the vitamins and minerals you need for good health as you age.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal has been a staple breakfast for many countries around the world for hundreds of years. Nutritionists now recommend eating oatmeal as a way to reduce cholesterol and keep blood pressure in the normal range. Oatmeal contains large amounts of fiber that help to keep digestive tracts in good working order. Oatmeal can help to reduce appetite to make dieting easier. Oatmeal is a carbohydrate that enters the bloodstream slowly, reducing blood sugar problems like type-2 diabetes. It also boosts energy levels to keep you going throughout the morning hours. You can get B vitamins, protein, copper, magnesium and phosphorus from your daily bowl of oatmeal.

Beans

Beans are a favorite food of vegetarians and vegans because it provides high amounts of protein, without any animal products. But beans also offer an easy way to get many nutrients, such as plenty of fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins, potassium, copper, zinc and magnesium. Beans offer particular benefits as you get older, lowering cholesterol, reducing the risk for type-2 diabetes, improving digestive health and making weight management easier. Black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans and garbanzo beans provide enough variety to keep your menu interesting, while you reap the benefits of this wholesome food in your diet.

Colorful Fruits and Vegetables

Every time you add colorful fruits and vegetables to your menu, you are providing your body with important antioxidants that help to maintain good health and prevent disease. Carrots, broccoli, squash, zucchini, blueberries and raspberries can all help to prevent cancer, boost immune function and prevent cognitive decline. These foods become even more important as you grow older.

Healthy Fats Like Olive Oil and Coconut Oil

Many people believe that eliminating fats of all kinds is the best way to maintain health. However, the truth is that fats are necessary for normal body function. Fat provides energy and helps to absorb important vitamins and minerals. Fat helps keep you warm in cold weather. Fat is also involved in blood clotting, brain development and control of inflammation in the body. The trick is to eat fats that don’t produce negative effects in the body. Dietitians recommend limiting the amount of saturated fat in the diet because it raises LDL “bad” cholesterol and can contribute to heart disease, stroke and other medical problems. Instead, choose fats such as olive oil, canola oil and safflower oil. Refined coconut oil is a saturated fat, but it also offers health-promoting properties. Coconut oil also raises HDL “good” cholesterol in the body, which can help to protect against heart disease and stroke.

Healthy eating is not difficult, but it does require an understanding of what the human body needs to function well. Add these foods to your diet, and you will feel better and look better, both today and well into the future.

Additional Resources:

The Benefits of Juicing Kale

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