(BPT) - It’s common knowledge that children should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, consuming all the nutrients needed to grow up strong. Many adults don’t know that it’s just as crucial to continue those healthy habits throughout adulthood and well into the “golden years.” Regardless of age, we should all make nutritious and sensible choices to promote peak physical and mental performance.
Build strong bones
Experts say the human body begins to lose bone mass at about age 30. That’s why it’s important to get plenty of calcium to keep bones strong, along with vitamin D, to help your body absorb calcium. Good sources of calcium include green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, okra and collard greens. A convenient and delicious way to take in more calcium is to incorporate an Emerald Smoothie into your daily routine. Simply blend pineapple, celery and spinach with soy milk and ice in a Vitamix 7500. This quick and easy concoction will give your diet an extra boost of essential nutrients.
Sharpen the mind
Making wholesome choices helps keep your brain fit. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish like sardines and salmon, as well as flaxseed and walnuts, have been linked to improved cognitive function and reduced risk for certain diseases. Eating fish regularly is one way to get enough omega-3s. If you’re not a seafood fan, numerous types of fish oil capsules are available at drug stores. Avocados also boast omega-3s, as well as monounsaturated fat, which can help lower cholesterol and improve circulation. Avocado provides a rich flavor and texture perfect for nearly any sandwich, as well as dips, smoothies and even desserts.
Antioxidant-rich blueberries are another mind-boosting addition to any diet. Considered a “super food,” these berries contain properties that have been linked to better brain health, improved motor skills and a sharper memory. To increase your berry intake, try a fruit salad for lunch or whip up a fresh berry sorbet for dessert.
Nourish your nervous system
Vitamin B12 is vital to your well-being. It can aid your body in producing red blood cells, properly developing nerve cells and preventing anemia. This vitamin can be found naturally in animal products, such as fish, meat and eggs. Steamed clams and lean beef are some of the best sources of Vitamin B12. Those maintaining a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle should consider a supplement or foods specially fortified with B12, including certain breakfast cereals or soy products.
Water is essential for your body. It keeps you hydrated, regulates body temperature and flushes waste. As we age, our sense of thirst may not be as effective, causing some older adults to be dehydrated but not feel thirsty. The average adult requires six to eight glasses of water each day, so a good rule of thumb is to have one glass at each meal and at least one glass in between meals.
Almond milk, soy milk and whole-food juices, made by blending whole fruits and vegetables in a high-performance blender like a Vitamix, can also keep you hydrated and satiated. When reaching for a thirst quencher, try to avoid sugary drinks such as soda and processed fruit juice, which add calories without much nutritional value.
Aging is inevitable, however, you can build a stronger body, mind and soul at any phase in life. All it takes is knowledge, motivation and follow-through to keep yourself healthy and full of energy for years to come.