Healthy Eating for the Later Years:
Eat Plenty of Vegetables and Fruit
You need the vitamins and minerals found in vegetables and fruit to help prevent illness and promote wound healing. Since you may not be able to tolerate a lot of fiber, choose vegetables and fruit with softer fiber and without hard skins, for example:
- Choose vegetables such as butternut, pumpkin, gem squash, baby marrow, mashed split peas or spinach with white sauce.
Spinach is rich in a chemical known as lutein, and together with carotenoid and zeaxanthin form an oily, yellow substance known as macula. This substance is at the central point of the retina and is responsible for allowing us to see details and colors. Eating a diet rich in lutein, such as spinach increases the pigment of the macula and also helps to slow down the natural degeneration process, according to research by Manchester’s Faculty of Life Sciences.
Spinach is low in saturated fat, a good source of niacin and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese.
- Choose softer fruits, e.g. bananas, pawpaw, soft melon, soft pears, peeled apples, mango or strawberries.
A strawberry is a superstar when it comes to anti-oxidant power, says Dr. Barry Sears in his book The Top 100 Zone Foods. In addition, 1 cup of strawberries gives you a whopping 140 percent of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. Strawberries are also packed with flavonoids, two in particular, called quercetin and kaempferol. Research shows that these two flavonoids help keep “bad” (LDL) cholesterol from oxidizing and damaging artery walls.
Strawberries also contain ellargic acid, which acts as a scavenger to “bind” cancer-causing chemicals, making them inactive. It inhibits the ability of other chemicals to cause mutations in bacteria. In addition, it prevents binding of carcinogens to DNA and reduces the incidence of cancer in cultured human cells exposed to carcinogens.
- Fruit tinned in fruit juice makes an enjoyable dessert. If you eat dried fruit, rather stew it until very soft as this will be easier to chew and digest.