Last month, we shared the best healthy foods for your heart. As an active older adult, you may find yourself wondering about the best foods that will provide you with an extra boost of energy.
Maintaining your energy levels as you age will help you keep your physical and mental health in peak condition. So if you’re an older adult finding yourself nodding off while you watch TV or feeling a lot more tired than you did several years ago, you may need to start looking at what you’re putting into your body.
Eating the right types of food will help increase your energy levels, build your endurance, and allow you to continue doing the things you enjoy. As a bonus, most of the energy-boosting foods found below also are excellent at keeping your heart healthy, maintaining your blood sugar levels, increasing muscle and bone strength, and boosting your immune systems.
We’ve put together a list of seven foods that provide seniors with a much-needed energy boost, along with a variety of additional health benefits. You’ll notice that the list includes lean proteins, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and other foods that provide vitamins and minerals while helping maintain energy throughout the day.
Nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews and pecans are chock-full of healthy fats, proteins and amino acids that strengthen and rebuild muscles. The fiber and carbohydrates found in nuts are digested more slowly than what you find in refined grains, which helps provide a steady supply of energy throughout the day.
Add more nuts to your diet by topping your salad with nuts instead of croutons, adding a handful to your morning oatmeal, and choosing roasted nuts over potato chips or other empty-calorie snacks.
2. Whole Grains
Skip the white bread and all-purpose flour and choose whole grains like quinoa, whole-wheat bread, oatmeal and barley for a high-fiber hit that provides energy throughout the day, helps regulate cholesterol and blood sugar, and keeps you regular. Some grains are also filled with protein, which is instrumental in maintaining muscle mass (which helps with balance, bone health and overall mobility).
Add more whole grains to your diet by choosing whole-grain bread over white, eating oatmeal for breakfast, and trying new side dishes like quinoa salad instead of a regular lettuce salad or coleslaw.
Berries such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are low in sugar and high in antioxidants and fiber, making them a great sweet treat that provides a slew of health benefits. Enjoy them fresh for an extra hydration hit, or snack on dried ones (in moderate amounts) for an energy boost or a delicious addition to salads, breads and desserts.
Add more berries to your diet by tossing some into a breakfast smoothie, sprinkling some on a salad, enjoying a high-energy snack of trail mix, or savoring a light dessert of berries and dark chocolate.
Oily, cold-water fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines are excellent lean proteins that help your heart (thanks to their omega-3 fatty acids), improve joint function, prevent cognitive decline and – you guessed it – boost energy.
Add more fish to your diet by adding salmon to your salad, enjoying a tuna fish sandwich, or choosing a tuna steak instead of a T-bone.
4. Low-fat dairy
Low-fat dairy options provide protein, healthy fats, and essential vitamins like B12, without the added calories that come from full-fat versions. Unsweetened and Greek yogurt can add oomph to your salad dressing, soups and side dishes without sacrificing taste, and cheese makes pretty much any dish sing!
Add more low-fat dairy to your diet by using Greek yogurt in place of sour cream or mayonnaise, shred some cheese onto a salad or in your soup, and sip a glass of milk for a midday pick-me-up.
We’ve already mentioned berries, but fruits and vegetables overall are excellent choices for filling your plate (and your stomach) with delicious tastes and energy boosters. Even “sugary” fruits like bananas and grapes provide nutritional boosts such as potassium, vitamin C and fiber. While there are some “smarter” choices such as sweet potatoes; lower sugar fruits; and dark, leafy greens, you really can’t go wrong by choosing these foods as a snack.
Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet by snacking on an apple or banana, adding a vegetable side dish to dinner, or enjoying a whole orange instead of drinking a glass of orange juice.
Bean, lentils and legumes are a great source of non-animal protein as well as vitamins and minerals like magnesium, iron, zinc and fiber. They provide a steady boost of energy as your body digests the complex carbohydrates, keeping you energized longer.
Add more beans and legumes to your diet by adding them to your salads and soups, tossing them into an egg dish for breakfast, and serving them as a side with fish or chicken.
Water is a liquid, not a food, but it is essential for helping you boost your energy, stay healthy, and build your strength. Staying hydrated helps muscles function properly, keeps your joints healthy, improves your digestion, and so much more. Plus, as an active adult, it’s even more essential to stay hydrated, because seniors become dehydrated much more quickly than their younger counterparts.
Add more water to your diet by choosing sparkling water over soda, sipping on herbal tea instead of coffee, and choosing fruits and vegetables high in liquids.
Aging well and staying active has never been easier. At Waterstone on High Ridge, our engaging lifestyle is designed to help older adults live the retirement lifestyle they want and deserve. With a focus on whole-body wellness, a jam-packed calendar of inspiring programming, and fine dining that’s both nutritious and delicious, you’re in for a treat. We invite you to visit and enjoy a complimentary lunch to learn more about our vibrant, engaged senior living community.