Remember when growing up, your parents always told you to eat your veggies? In fact, some of us weren’t even allowed to leave the table until we’d eaten every vegetable off our plates. While we didn’t appreciate it much as kids, we understand now as adults that we need to include a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables in order to feel good and maintain our health. And for those of us in the 55+ age bracket, we need more nutrient-dense food than ever.
At Oakwood Life, we believe everyone on the plus side of 55 deserves to live a full and enriching life, and part of that involves optimal nutrition. Ensuring we’re getting enough fruits and vegetables at every meal can be a challenge, so we put together this list of “colors” to help you eat a rainbow of nutrition every day.
Some “red” favorites are beets, which can be added to salads or roasted with olive oil. Beets are known to increase cardio endurance — so load up the day before biking or hiking! Strawberries contain salicylic acid, which helps fight plaque and inflammation. They also make an excellent mid-day snack or dessert topper. And if you add red peppers to your breakfast eggs, you’ll feel less hungry after breakfast thanks to the appetite-suppressing hormones inside the peppers.
Did you know mangoes may help fight off cancer cells? And that they are delicious? Add some of these to your next smoothie. Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween; they’re full of zinc, which aids proper brain function. And you don’t have to be from the south to love sweet potatoes, which contain more potassium than a banana. Toss them in some olive oil and salt and stick in the oven — roasted pumpkin and sweet potatoes are always a hit at the dinner table.
Next time you grill out, throw corn on the cob in the mix. Corn is packed with antioxidants that protect your eyes. And add pineapple to your grilled burger or chicken — it contains an enzyme that keeps you from bloating. And start giving yellow peppers the credit they deserve — they pack almost 3x the amount of Vitamin C an orange has. And they’re tasty in a stir-fry!
Eat all the guacamole you want — avocados are so good for you and full of the healthy fats you need in your diet. You can add pears to your next bowl of fruit or turkey sandwich topping — they are full of fiber and help curb your appetite. And as a famous cartoon sailor who “eats me spinach” knows, this leafy green vegetable is chock full of Vitamin A and is really good for your complexion. And makes for a healthy salad base.
Nothing livens up a boring bowl of high-fiber cereal like a handful of blueberries! These little nuggets of yumminess improve blood flow to your brain. Plums, always lauded for their “plumbing” attributes, are also good at warding off colds and viruses, so puree a few of these and make a creative cocktail. Raisins, which may sound a bit drab if they’re not covered in chocolate, are actually a solid energy snack and easily portable. Which makes them the perfect bites to take on an outdoor adventure.
You’ll want to speak with your doctor before making big changes to your diet, but next time you head to the grocery store, try picking out a variety of colors in the produce section. A more colorful palette in your diet may benefit your waistline and your health. And be sure you’re getting enough exercise to go along with your diet. Even walking the links at our Fairway Villas is enough to get your heart rate going. At Oakwood, we believe in the benefits of an active life!