Foods for a Long Life
foods that contain active ingredients to boost your
system and keep you robust and active.
Vitamins B6 and
As you get older; your absorption of these is
reduced, so you will need to take supplements. Meat (especially
pork), liver, fish, eggs, wholegrain cereals, wholemeal bread,
bananas, pulses, brown rice, nuts and yeast extract are good sources
of these vitamins.
Prunes are very effective at
relieving constipation as they contain a substance called
hydroxyphenylistin which stimulates the muscles of the large
bowel. They also provide
iron and vitamin B6. In
common with all dried fruit, dried prunes have a higher
calorie content that fresh (four times as much, so dont go
overboard or your waistline may suffer!
is a great antioxidant: it boosts your immune system,
promotes wound healing and increases your absorption of iron, Citrus
fruit, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet peppers and broccoli contain
helps you to absorb calcium and keeps your
Many older people in the United Kingdom are deficient in vitamin D,
which is made by the action of sunlight on the skin.
When the weather is fine make sure
that you get outside for at least 30 minutes each day. If you go for
a daily walk in the sunshine, the exercise will be doing you good
too. Use a sunscreen when the sun is hot.
You should also eat foods rich in
vitamin D. These include oily fish, eggs and dairy products. And eat
margarines-they are fortified with extra
Choose those made with heart-friendly oils such as olive, sunflower,
safflower and soya. It may be that you are unable to get out of the
house much. In this case supplements can be a real help: a daily
combined supplement of calcium and vitamin D has recently been shown
to reduce bone fractures by 30-40 per cent in elderly housebound
Vitamin E To
keep your immune system healthy, top up your vitamin E intake from
seeds and seed oils, nuts, wheatgerm, wholemeal bread and leafy
Long-term use of medication such as
diuretics can speed up the loss of potassium and magnesium. Low
depression and may result in
muscle weakness. Bananas, meat, potatoes, oranges, and dried
fruit are rich in potassium and nuts, bananas, apricots and soya
beans will provide good amounts.
Unzip a banana if you want to
help keep your
blood pressure at a healthy level. Bananas are rich in
potassium and gentle on your digestive system too.
Both mineral boost your immune system and promote
healing. Levels are often low in elderly people, so eat zinc-rich
foods such as oysters, meat, liver, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. And
get copper from liver, kidneys, nuts and cocoa.
As you get older, you need to be aware that your body
is less efficient at absorbing calcium. Dairy products are one of
the richest sources- but other calcium-rich foods include canned
fish such as pilchards and sardines, white bread, apricots and baked
beans. Choose skim milk, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese to avoid
saturated fats. A single serving can provide you with 20% of the
1,200 milligrams a day you need. You can also add calcium to your
diet with calcium-enriched cereals and orange juice. Foods such as
dark green vegetables, dried beans, and sardines also contain
Researchers at Purdue University
found that women who consume calcium from low-fat dairy
products or get at least 1,000 milligrams a day showed an
overall decrease in
The phytate in wheat bran hinders the absorption of
calcium, iron, zinc and copper, so avoid sprinkling raw bran over
your food. Instead, buy good quality, high-fiber cereals these
contain the right balance of bran. Most health organizations
recommend 20-35 grams a day.
Your "superfoods" color chart
When you're thinking "superfoods,"
Deep green --Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and
kale are good sources of calcium to help with healthy bones and
Red --Red tomatoes, cranberries, and pomegranates are beneficial
sources of lycopene and anthocyanins, which help urinary tract
health and memory function.
Orange/yellow --Squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, and yams are great
sources of antioxidants and help vision.
Deep blue/purple --Eggplant, plums, blueberries, and blackberries
can help with urinary tract health, healthy aging, and memory.
Water for Energy and Your Skin
We need water to flush out toxins,
keep our tissues hydrated, keep our energy up.
Water is also essential if you're
eating high-fiber foods. It helps fiber do its job.
If plain water doesn't quite do it for
you, add slices of lemon, lime, or orange for flavor without
calories. Or try a sprig of mint for a refreshing change of pace.