An estimated 77 million baby boomers represent the largest generation of Americans born in U.S. history. Many are embracing their golden years and taking a proactive approach to their well-being. If you are a boomer, you understand nutrition is fundamental to maintaining your health. But do you know some foods are particularly powerful in helping you age well?
“Certain foods provide nutrients that are extremely beneficial for baby boomers,” says Kristen Johnson, registered dietician, nutrition expert at On Target Living, and author of the newly released cookbook “Target To Table: Healthy and Delicious Meals One Superfood at a Time.” “Eating these superfoods regularly is one of the easiest yet most impactful things boomers can do for their health.”
Johnson’s top five superfoods for baby boomers include:
Fresh cold water fish
“On top of being a delicious lean protein, fish is loaded with omegas-3s that keep our brains healthy as we age,” says Johnson. “EPA and DHA are the type of omega-3 fat found in fish and are especially important for a healthy heart, hormonal balance, energy and mood.”
Since most of us don’t have access to fresh, wild-caught or cold-water fish on a daily basis, she suggests taking a high-quality cod liver oil daily, like Nordic Naturals Orange-Flavored Cod Liver Oil. “There’s no fishy smell and a quality you can taste,” says Johnson. “Also, cod liver oil naturally contains vitamin D, which is needed to absorb calcium.”
Certain seeds, like flax, chia and hemp seeds, have extensive health benefits and more boomers are incorporating them into their daily meals and snacks.
“Flaxseeds and chia seeds are high in omega-3s and fiber and contain antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties,” says Johnson. “Hemp seeds are high in healthy omega-6s, along with being high in protein. These super seeds help balance hormones and can also help with digestion.”
Easy ways to start incorporating seeds into your daily routine is to add them to smoothies or sprinkle on yogurt or oatmeal.
“Vegetables provide many nutrients, including potassium, fiber, folate, vitamins A, E, C and are alkalizing, meaning they neutralize acids in the body and help your body thrive and stay mineralized,” says Johnson.
Try to get a variety of super vegetables into your daily diet including leafy greens, bok choy, broccoli, mushrooms, beets, celery, carrots, onions and garlic. Leafy greens and broccoli are especially high in calcium and vitamin C needed to keep your immune system healthy and prevent sickness. Beets and celery are extremely detoxifying. Garlic is part of the onion family and contributes to a healthy immune system while helping to lower inflammation.
“Fruits are packed with flavor and are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, cancer-fighting antioxidants, and are extremely alkalizing,” says Johnson.
Strive to get a variety of super fruits in your daily diet including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, lemons, limes, apples and bananas. Dried fruits like figs, dates, goji berries and raisins are high in the calming mineral magnesium which helps to relax the mind and body and aid in digestion.
Organic virgin coconut oil
Lately there has been a lot of buzz about coconut oil and for good reason, explains Johnson. “Coconut oil is a healthy saturated fat high in lauric, capric and caprylic acids which have antiviral and antifungal properties contributing to a healthy digestion,” she says. “Coconut oil also contains medium-chain fatty acids that can aid in a healthy metabolism.”
Try using coconut oil in baked goods or to replace other oils when sautéing or stir-frying. It’s also a fantastic butter substitute on toast and other foods.
Start the day on the right foot with this easy-to-make smoothie that features several of Johnson’s recommended superfoods. This recipe can be found on Johnson’s blog at www.targettotable.com.
Rise and Shine Smoothie
2 cups carrot juice
1 cup kale or spinach
2 cups frozen or fresh berries
2 tablespoons chia or flaxseeds
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 tablespoon Nordic Naturals Orange Flavored Cod Liver Oil
Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth.