Reaching senior years comes with several life-changing realities. Getting older brings a lot of challenges, but more so in the state of one’s well-being. Therefore, seniors should make a consistent decision to always choose a healthy lifestyle from here on out.
This entails quitting previous vices, constant exercise, staying socially active, and connecting with family and the community. However, this list would not be complete without the number one ingredient to staying healthy as you age—eating a healthy diet.
A proper diet is crucial for adults over the age of 60. The development of chronic diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases is associated with the food we eat. Nutrient deficiency is also as common as these chronic illnesses to seniors because of reduced food intake and limited variation in their diet.
Spice up your diet and ensure that you get all the nutrients you need by stocking up on lean proteins, low-fat dairy, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. One fruit in particular, which has been the subject of many pieces of research lately due to its vast nutritional benefits, is the avocado.
Here are five reasons why this delectable fruit is worth adding to your plate.
Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
Avocados are known as a “nutrient-dense” fruit in the dietary industry. This means that they contain plenty of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that provide positive health effects to individuals.
Unlike other fruits, avocados are low in calorie count, solid fats, added sugars, and refined starches. This means that they do not compromise the health of a person despite them being packed with nutrients.
There are nearly 20 different vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients per 50g of avocado serving. Here are some of the powerful nutrients found in the fruit.
- Vitamins C, E, K, and B6
- Iron, niacin, folate
- Riboflavin, pantothenic acid
- Magnesium, potassium, thiamin
- Lutein, omega-3, and beta-carotene
Good for the Heart
According to research, the moderate consumption of mono and polyunsaturated fats helps in reducing blood cholesterol, thus decreasing the risk of developing heart problems. Beta-sitosterol, a natural plant sterol, was also proven to help keep the heart healthy by maintaining healthy cholesterol levels in our body. Another nutritional requirement our body needs is potassium. This mineral is known to aid in normalizing our body’s blood pressure by blunting the effects of salt on it. It also decreases the risk of developing kidney stones and bone loss in the future. Surprisingly, all these nutrients are abundant in avocados.
Moreover, a serving of it meets the American Heart Association’s recommended dietary intake, which is:
- Low to moderate fat
- Low in saturated fat
- Limited trans fat
- Low cholesterol or less than 300 mg per day
Promotes Healthy Eyesight
A senior’s declining health is almost always accompanied by declining vision. They are also prone to develop age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and blindness.
However, such illnesses can be avoided by early preventive actions such as eating the right kind of diet that includes foods that promote healthy vision. A good example is the creamy flesh of an avocado fruit, which is a brilliant source of lutein, carotenoids, zeaxanthin, Vitamin A, E, and antioxidants.
Research showed that consuming food rich in antioxidants prevents the development of cataract—the clouding of one’s natural lens and vision. It is also the major cause of blindness across the globe. With antioxidants, your body will be able to prevent free radicals from inducing degeneration in cells.
This action is further amplified by the help of zinc and Vitamin A, which protects the eyes from drying and night blindness.
Prevents the Development of Cancer
The antioxidant-rich attribute of an avocado is what makes it efficient in preventing the development of cancer cells in the body. Add to that its folate content, which acts as protective gear against DNA and RNA mutations, thus preventing the development of colon, pancreatic, and cervical cancer.
It also contains alpha-carotene and beta-carotene that help in building and strengthening the body’s immune system by increasing the proliferation of immune cells.
According to research, avocado extracts may even aid in treating cancer patients. Findings suggest that phytochemicals from the fruit kills and inhibits the growth of cancer cells. It also aided in reducing the negative effect of the chemotherapeutic drug cyclophosphamide to a patient’s body.
Avocados are composed of several foundational supplements needed for bone health. Some of them include:
- Vitamin K – together with Vitamin D, they help maintain and regulate bone cell production in the body. It also ensures that calcium levels in the blood are in reasonable quantities.
- Vitamin C – essential for maintaining healthy bones because of its part in collagen formation. It is a foundational protein necessary for bone mineralization and cartilage maintenance.
- Boron – aside from calcium, boron is another mineral involved in maintaining strong bones by prolonging the life of vitamin D, thus extending its effect on the bones. It also helps the body metabolize minerals, such as calcium, to keep the bones and joints healthy.
- Copper – although a relatively new study, researchers found evidence to correlate osteoporosis to copper deficiencies. The mechanisms are still under study, but copper was found to be essential in the metabolism of enzymes that helps keep the bones strong. It was also proved to help strengthen the spinal bones of post-menopausal women.
- Omega 3 fatty acid – enhances calcium deposition and absorption.
Senior life is full of changes, compromise, and questions. But with all these uncertainties, one thing is for sure—you need to stay healthy as you age. Of course, you will need more than just avocados and a healthy diet to stay in the best shape, this tasty fruit is already a step closer towards a healthy senior life that is worth living.