As we get older, our bodies go through some major physiological changes, says nutritional expert Tara Collingwood M.S., RDN, co-author of “Flat Belly Cookbook for Dummies.”
“Men and women alike are susceptible to bone loss, muscle loss, hormonal changes, and the dreaded middle age spread,” the dietitian told Newsmax. “ We see and feel these changes in our achy joints, vision impairment, heart complications, weight gain, decreased memory retention, and lack of energy — all of which are tied directly to nutrition. “
These 10 super foods boast a high nutrient-to-calorie ratio to keep your body performing optimally.
- Wild salmon. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish two times a week, particularly fatty fish like salmon. Fatty fish are higher in omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation and remove triglycerides from the blood. Better yet, salmon is a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids. Protein is what our bodies use for growth, maintenance, and repair.
- Chia. These tiny black seeds are one of the healthiest foods around. Of particular interest are its concentrations of fiber and healthy fat. One ounce contains 11 grams of fiber and 5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids! Fiber and omega-3s work together to keep your heart healthy. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States.
- Black Beans. Black beans are an excellent source of soluble fiber, the type of fiber that is difficult to come by. Soluble fiber is a nutrient key to blood sugar regulation and cardiovascular health. It works to slow the rate at which food moves through the digestive tract, meaning you don’t experience blood sugar highs and low as easily. It also helps to pull cholesterol from the blood, lowering your LDL cholesterol level and reducing your risk of coronary heart disease.
- Kale. Kale is intensely rich in vitamins A, K, and C. In fact, one cup of this dark, leafy super food contains over 100% of the daily recommended value for each of these vitamins. As we age, each of these vitamins plays an important role in maintaining our health: Vitamin A in vision; vitamin K in blood clotting; and vitamin C in the growth and repair of tissues. To boot, kale is rich in potassium, an electrolyte essential to heart health.
- Blackberries. Blackberries contain higher levels of fiber and antioxidants than most other berries. Fiber is wonderful for all of the aforementioned reasons, but it’s also beneficial for maintaining a healthy weight. As for its antioxidants, blackberries contain concentrated levels of flavonoids, a natural brain booster, that helps reduce the age-related decline in motor skills and cognitive activity.
- Almonds. Almonds are the most nutrient-dense nut, ranking highest in protein, calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, and folate. Almonds are also high in manganese and copper. These two trace minerals are necessary to form collagen, the connective tissue found in our bones, muscles, skin, and tendons. When collagen breaks down, we show visible signs of aging, but eating the right food helps protect collagen from breaking down and keeps our bodies younger.
- Kefir. Kefir is a fermented milk product that is similar to yogurt, but with a thinner consistency. The bacteria responsible for its fermentation are probiotics. Probiotics are the healthy bacteria that live in the gut and aid digestion. Keeping the digestive tract healthy helps the body eliminate toxins and reduces the risk of colon cancer.
- Russet Potatoes. Potatoes have earned a bad rap, but they’re actually a nutrient-rich super food. Loaded with more potassium than a banana, a whole potato can help prevent high blood pressure and reduce your risk for stroke and heart disease. In addition to potassium, potatoes are packed with antioxidants.
- Butternut Squash. This winter squash’s orange hue means it’s high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A helps maintain vision and decreases the risk of macular degeneration. Butternut squash is also high in vitamin C. When eaten with iron-rich foods, vitamin C enhances the body’s absorption of iron, thereby reducing your risk of anemia.
- Ginger. Best known for its ability to eliminate gastrointestinal discomfort, ginger is a natural remedy for nausea and vomiting. Ginger also has an anti-inflammatory effect that helps relieve achy joints and stiff muscles.