Superfoods for Seniors!

Food is one of the most enduring and consistent parts of our lives – and the old adage “You are what you eat” has never been truer, especially for seniors looking to improve their diets and their bodies.

As we get older, there’s a certain tendency to wonder if healthy eating still matters – after all, we may not have long to experience any effects, right? That’s true, but our daily nutrition still has a major impact on how well our body functions. Today, we’re going to look at a collection of fantastic superfoods for seniors that could help reduce the chances of certain medical issues.

How To Make A Super Meal

Before that, though, we need to know how to make a great meal. Blueberries are fantastic for getting dietary fiber and antioxidants, but a meal consisting of nothing but these tiny blue marvels wouldn’t be a good idea. Instead, let’s think about combining these foods with a few simple recipes.

The Super Salad

Start with a base of Kale, whose impressively high levels of omega-3 fatty acids can help fight off pain in your joints. Top with a handful of Blueberries, as fresh as you can get them, and a small handful of Walnuts. Add your favorite dressing, and congratulations – you’ve just created a super salad that’s full of nutrition.

The Ultimate Smoothie

It takes practice to make smoothies just by eyeballing them, and we all prefer to drink different amounts – so think about proportions, not size. Once you’re ready to start, pour in equal amounts of pomegranate juice and acai juice – making sure you’ve got actual juice, not merely a fruit-flavored sugary drink. Add some ground flaxseed (whole seeds aren’t nearly as nutritious), greek yogurt, and as much fresh fruit as you’d like. This last one will determine the ultimate thickness of your drink – if you prefer meal replacement smoothies, the fruit should make up at least half the drink.

The Easiest Dinner

While cooking a slice of salmon in the oven, arrange a set of beans and an avocado on your plate. For added value, you can add some pumpkin seeds to the beans – mixing them in to make the meal even healthier while adding a nice degree of crunch. Every part of this meal is packed with nutrients that will help boost your body up, giving you the energy you need to continue enjoying your life.

Mixing It Up

These recipes focus on packing as many superfoods into your diet as possible, but they’re far from the only way to do things. For example, you could also mix greek yogurt and blueberries into a bowl of steelcut oats, topping the whole concoction with chia seeds – or you could make superfoods a part of your meals instead of the focus. Other foods also have nutritional value, and it’s important to have a balanced diet.

To get the most benefit, though, you’ll need to get up and move around as best you can – summer activities are particularly helpful for staying active and allowing the body to process nutrients, though it’s important to avoid excessive heat, which is one of the most significant dangers to any senior. Activities should be enjoyed in the morning or evening hours – or at least somewhere that has air conditioning.

How Much Do Superfoods Cost?

That depends on a wide variety of factors, including the season, your geographic location, and various matters in agriculture and business. However, most superfoods are widely available at grocery stores and supermarkets, and many of them can be purchased in bulk at a reasonable price. You don’t have to destroy your savings just to eat healthy foods – so go ahead, take a look around, and start making a plan to add these fantastic treats to your diet!

This post was a contribution by Felicity Dryer. Check out her infographic below!

Originally born in Flagstaff, Arizona, Felicity Dryer was raised by her parents (more or less modern-day hippies) to always make her health a top priority. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career as a freelance health writer, and continues to help those seeking encouragement to keep moving forward to achieve their goals. @FelicityDryer

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Burnt Corn, Kale and Lime Salad

Creating delicious variations on the traditional side salad is something that I love to do in the kitchen! This recipe requires minimal preperation and can be put together in the ten minutes before you serve your main meal. Kale is an ingredient that I tend to use a lot at home because of its amazing nutritious value. For those of you who don’t know, kale is among the healthiest foods in the world! With over 45 different flavonoids contained within, it provides a range of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. It is also great for lowering LDL cholesterol levels and lowering risk factors for cancer development.

Adding the juice of one lime to the salad dressing not only helps to bring out the flavour of the other ingredients but also brings a healthy boost to this side dish. They are a fantastic source of vitamin C and folic acid, the latter of which is important for cell growth and metabolism.

To make enough of this salad to serve six people, you will need the following ingredients:

2 x corns on the cob
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
250g kale, shredded
Sea salt
1 avocado, cut into small chunks
A squeeze of honey

For the dressing:
The juice of 1 lime
A handful of coriander, torn

Burnt Corn, Kale and Lime Salad2Firstly, using a sharp knife, cut the corn away from the cobs and separate the corn into kernels. In a frying pan, dry fry the corn with the paprika and the cumin for about 10 minutes until the corn starts to blacken! Next, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, massage the kale with sea salt for ten minutes or until it becomes soft. Add the burnt corn, the avocado, the lime and the coriander. Toss well and serve!

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How Stress Affects Your Health

Our mental wellbeing has a huge impact on our physical health and taking care of yourself should involve practices related to both of these things! If your mind is frequently busy with negative thoughts and stress then you will observe that your energy and general health will decrease over time. It is often difficult to measure how much stress a person is experiencing, and for that reason it is regularly dismissed from being a health concern. However, that does not mean that you should take your stress levels any less seriously. Stress can cause some serious changes in your body that can actually be quite dangerous. Being aware of this can help you to understand why it is important to avoid stressful situations and reach resolutions to conflict quickly.

Stress has the potential to change how your genes function. This means that during periods of extreme stress the way your body stores fat can change, your immune system can become compromised and visible signs of aging can increase. When your immune system is affected in this way, you are more likely to develop infections, especially ones that can lay dormant such as cold sores.

Research has shown that those who experience high levels of stress as children can have dramatically altered responses to stress as adults. This means that these people might find certain situations harder to deal with than those who were not exposed to this early in life. High stress levels can actually damage certain parts the brain, such as those responsible for memory. During incredibly intense periods of time, the brain will often trigger adrenal shutdown in order to preserve as much energy as possible for its own function. Adrenal fatigue can wreak havoc in your life and will drastically diminish your energy levels. The simplest of tasks, such as getting out of bed for more than a few hours, can seem incredibly difficult.

Studies have proven that the body’s ability to detoxify prescription drugs is negatively affected by stress. Similar studies have also shown that a person is much more likely to crave fatty, sugary foods during periods of moderate to extreme stress. If your lifestyle is causing you to compromise your nutrition then you will experience these negative effects much more rapidly.

As you can see, keeping your stress levels to an absolute minimum should be a priority in your life if you want to remain a positive and productive person. Distancing yourself from toxic relationships and negative influences should be an immediate action. You can also look to activities such as yoga and meditation in order to promote relaxation and optimum health! Check out my previous post on How to Make Time for Meditation for tips on getting started.

Beans, Beats and Herbs

This colourful dish can either be used as a very light lunch option or alternatively as a fantastic side dish to go with a healthy dinner. Beets are amongst the healthiest foods in the world and they contain a unique type of phytonutrients known as betalains. Research has shown that betalains are amazing for providing antioxidant, detoxification and anti-inflammatory support in the body. The combination of these benefits means great things for the health of the cardiovascular system in particular. Add to this that they are also known to be effective in combatting cancer growth and contain high amounts of manganese, potassium, copper and fibre and you are eating an all-round winner!

If you are a fequent follower of my blog then you will know that coconut oil is a favourite of mine – but you might not know why! Well, it is my opinion (and one widely shared) that it is one of the healthiest oils to cook with. It can help with a whole range of things, from aiding weight loss to improving digestion, as well as boosting your immune system and your metabolism.

To make this dish to serve six people, you will need the following ingredients:

8 x beets
Coconut oil
1 x 400g tin of white beans

For the dressing:

2 Tbsp. capers
1 garlic clove
A handful of mint, parsley and basil
1 tomato
The juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

To get started making this dish, you will first need to preheat your oven to 180C. You must then coat the beets with coconut oil, a splash of water and a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper. You can then cover the beets with tin foil and roast in the oven for one hour or until the beetroots are cooked through. Once you are sure they are cooked, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool. Next, combine the beets and the white beans in a large salad bowl.

Now it is time to move on to make the dressing! All you have to do is combine all of the ingredients in a food processor. You must then take this mixture and coat the beets and beans with it. Before you serve, you can top with extra mint, parsley and basil as desired – enjoy!

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How to Make the Most of Meditation

In my previous blog post, How to Make Time for Meditation, I discussed the best ways to begin on your journey of meditation and how to avoid some of the common excuses people find to avoid meditation. If you followed my advice and are now incorporating this relaxing practice into your everyday life then congratulations! I am absolutely positive that you will have already begun to experience the many benefits of doing so. Even though getting started is usually the hardest part, it can also be tricky to continue with your practice, especially when our stressful modern day lives get in the way.

To help you continue to get the most out of your meditation time, I have compiled the following tips! These are things that I always keep in mind when I am meditating and find that they help me to stay focused on my goals!

Your posture is incredibly important. Your spine should always be straight with your head up and facing forwards. When you start to slump you will soon notice that your mind starts to wander. A good way to achieve proper posture is to imagine your head is connected with the sky and aim to keep it there!

Some people prefer to meditate with their eyes closed, however, it is often a good idea to keep them open. When your eyes are closed, your thoughts are more likely to drift to other things. Instead of trying to focus your gaze on a specific place in the room, just let your eyes settle naturally and try not to pay too much attention to whatever happens to be in your line of sight.

Similarly to yoga, it is important to pay attention to your breathing when you are meditating. When you are focusing on your breathing you will find yourself anchored in the present and your mind will be easier to settle. There’s no need to force your breath to be a certain pace, just let it come in and out naturally! When rogue thoughts enter your mind, bring your focus back to your breathing and these thoughts will soon evaporate from your conscious.

Finally, although there is an abundance of amazing music to meditate to, choosing to do so in silence is best for being fully focused on your meditation. Silence can be incredibly healing whereas music can often be quite distracting. Even just 10 – 20 minutes of silent meditation everyday will help you to get in touch with your emotions and better equip you to deal with the day. Regular practice of this kind for an extended period of time will help you to build a solid foundation for more intense meditation in the future!

Black Bean and Tomato Soup

During these hot summer months the last thing you want to do is eat a heavy meal during the day. That is why soup is such a great seasonal option at the moment! It fills you up without leaving you feeling like you have over-indulged. There are countless delicious ready made varieties in the supermarkets, but if you want to be sure that you are getting the nutrition you need then it is best to make your own! Making soup at home is also a low-cost way to cook a large amount that can then be frozen and eaten at a later date.

Making soup with black beans is a fantastic way to thicken the consistency as well as to massively boost the health benefits of your meal. They are very high in protein but contain very minimal amounts of saturated fat and absolutely no cholesterol! They are also crammed full of micronutrients, fiber and those all important antioxidants. So, it is easy to see how regular consumption of black beans can do wonders for your body!

To make a batch of this soup, gather and prepare the following ingredients:

2 cups of cherry tomatoes
1 red onion, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
400g tin of cooked black beans
1 stalk of celery, chopped
¼ cup of coriander, chopped
2 cups of veg stock
Salt and pepper
Coconut oil

The first thing you will need to do is heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large pan and then fry the onion, garlic and jalapeno peppers. When the onion starts to brown, lower the heat slightly and add in the celery and carrots and then continue to fry. As the vegetables start to soften, add in the tin of black beans and the veg stock, You must then stir this pan occasionally for the next ten minutes.

After this time, add in the cherry tomatoes and continue to heat for a further ten minutes. Season with the salt and pepper and then pop it all in your food processor and whiz away until smooth. Pour into bowls, top with the fresh coriander and serve!

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How to Stay Healthy When Travelling

Eating healthily whilst travelling can sometimes be quite problematic. Whether you are just going for a weekend jaunt in Europe or you are planning something more extreme, such as backpacking through Asia, finding healthy options isn’t always as easy as you might think. Not having access to a kitchen is usually the biggest barrier to being able to prepare healthy food. Also, if you’re staying in a fancy hotel during your trip then the temptation to indulge in the restaurant, and also in the bar, can often be impossible to resist. However, if you have fitness goals and dietary aims then it is important to remember that they don’t always have to take a break just because you are!

The prominence of healthy fast food is growing rapidly in the UK and the US, but when you are in more remote parts of the world you are unlikely to come across this trend in such abundance. That is not to say that it is impossible though! A quick scout online of your target destination will reveal to you the best vegan / vegetarian / healthy places to dine – most probably accompanied by a collection of reviews from previous visitors. If you seek out a place this way then remember to leave a review of your experience for the next health conscious traveller to discover!

If you are undertaking a longer adventure on a budget then it might often seem necessary to live on instant noodles and cheap carb loaded snacks. This can be avoided by seeking out the local markets were you will usually be able to find low price fruit and vegetables to indulge on. This is a particularly good idea if you do not have access to a kitchen to prepare food. There is bound to be a great selection of local produce and you may even come across fruits and vegetables that you’ve not tasted before – make sure you always wash food properly before you eat it though!

Of course eating healthily is only half of the equation. It’s also important to remain active and make an effort to incorporate exercise into your travels. Exploring your destination on foot is a great way to do this and a day spent out walking and seeing the sights will soon amount to some serious calorie burning. It is easy to take compact exercise equipment, such as a skipping rope, with you to mix things up a bit! You can also use your own body to exercise for a short time each day, such as doing press-ups, squats, lunges and more! There’s really no limits to how you can use your own body as an exercise machine, so get creative!

Asparagus and Bulgur Wheat Salad

Bulgur wheat might not currently be a common feature in your kitchen but once you discover its amazing nutritional benefits combined with its great taste, that’s sure to change! Bulgur wheat is a kind of pre-cooked cracked wheat that is very quick to prepare. It is low in calories and extremely high in dietary fibre, making it fantastic for your digestive health. It also provides valuable amounts of protein as well as an impressive variety of vitamins and minerals.

Right now is the perfect time to buy deliciously fresh asparagus as spring is the best season for it! Although most people will know that this veggie is a health powerhouse because of its vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, they might not know that it contains chromium! Chromium is an essential mineral that aids the transportation of glucose from the bloodstream and into the cells! Asparagus is also a rich source of the detoxifying compound, glutathione which helps to combat free radicals in the body! On top of these incredible health benefits, it is also believed that asparagus helps to fight disease and slow the inevitable process of aging!

To whip up this salad for yourself, find the following ingredients:

1 cup of uncooked bulgur wheat
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1/2 a tsp. of paprika
500g of asparagus, trimmed
1 cup of cherry tomatoes
Coconut oil
Salt and pepper
The juice of one lemon

Asparagus & Bulgar Wheat Salad2To get started making this dish you must first cut the asparagus length ways and then into chunks. However, while you’re doing this, preheat your oven to 200C. Once you’re done preparing the asparagus, you can then roast these chunks in your oven with a drizzle of coconut oil for 25 minutes.

The next step is to cook the bulgur wheat as per the package instructions. Once it is ready, drain and then add the spring onions, the paprika and dash of salt and pepper. Once the asparagus is cooked, chop the cherry tomatoes in half and then add both ingredients together with bulgur wheat. The final stage is to trickle the lemon juice over the top and then serve.

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