As you age, it’s critical to eat foods with nutrition to boost your energy levels and build endurance. Without enough energy, physical and mental health can begin to decline. In order to get that much-needed energy boost, here are 11 foods that provide multiple health benefits for seniors.
Nuts are full of healthy fats and proteins that give you nutritional energy. The amino acids in nuts can also help rebuild and strengthen muscles, which is great for simple stretching and exercising.
Walnuts have plenty of fiber and can be eaten on their own as a snack or in salads, desserts, and other dishes. Their high calorie count will also help provide you with all-day energy.
The carbs and fiber in almonds are complicated and are broken down slowly, which provides energy throughout the day rather than all at once. This makes nuts a great pick-me-up with a long-lasting effect.
Try these almond cookies for something sweet.
As with nuts, berries can be a quick snack that taste great and have many added health benefits that you can take advantage of.
Blueberries are full of antioxidants, which not only provide immune-boosting effects, but can help protect muscles from weakening over time. Blueberries also have water packed into them, which keeps seniors hydrated and energized.
Strawberries have a lot of the antioxidants found in blueberries, along with vitamin C and healthy sugars that fight fatigue and slow inflammation in the body.
3. Whole Grains
Healthy carbs like whole grains have complicated cellular structures that take time to break down during digestion, which provides a constant source of energy throughout the day. Switching from unhealthy carbs to whole grains is a small step that has lasting health benefits.
The rumors are true—oatmeal is good for your heart! A bowl of oatmeal in the morning can give you much-needed energy throughout the day, as well as providing fiber and protein you need to build endurance.
Quinoa, which is more of a seed than a grain, is packed full of healthy carbs and protein. It also helps build and repair muscles, which helps you maintain muscle mass and mobility as you age.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Rather than white or yellow potatoes, give sweet potatoes a try! Sweet potatoes have much more nutritional value than other potatoes, even though the “sweet” in the name might imply otherwise. The sweetness actually comes from the complex sugars and carbs that gives you energy and encourages you to exercise and build muscle mass.
5. Greek or Plain Yogurt
Plain or greek yogurt provides a big boost of energy with healthy proteins and fats. Rather than the sweetened versions that add lots of sugar, unflavored yogurt gives you lasting energy. You can add some fruits or berries to get natural sweetness if you need!
Morel hunting is a favorite Michigan pastime, but eating them is even better. Mushrooms, and not just morels, are high in iron and fiber and have more protein than most vegetables. There are a wide variety of mushrooms that can be used in many different cuisines and dishes, making it easy to add variety while reaping the benefits of these yummy fungi. If you can get your hands on some spring morels, try a hearty mushroom soup. Add mushrooms to your gravies, stir-fries, omelettes, and more to add fantastic savory flavor.
Bananas are high in potassium. What isn’t as well known is what potassium helps to balance hydration and deliver energy. In addition, bananas have anti-inflammatory properties that help build endurance and heal torn muscles faster.
8. Beans & Lentils
Beans and lentils are high in a number of vitamins and minerals, such as zinc, iron, and magnesium. Replenishing minerals can help you maintain blood sugar levels, which in turn helps provide a constant stream of energy.
While water is a drink, not a food, it is still one of the best things you can have to boost energy and build endurance. Without proper hydration, muscles won’t be able to function properly and you can easily lose both strength and mobility over time from dehydration.
If drinking water isn’t your thing, then take a look at some other ways you can get your daily dose of hydration.
Seeds are another example of a healthy snack that can give you a quick boost of energy and build endurance.
The slower you naturally digest food, the more steady your energy levels will be throughout the day. That’s why seeds that are high in fiber like chia seeds are a great high-energy snack.
Like chia seeds, pumpkin seeds have a high fiber content that helps regulate digestion throughout the day. You can easily make your own pumpkin seeds at home by baking them in the oven with a little salt.
Avocados provide some of the healthiest natural fats found in any food item. Healthy fats are used as energy, rather than unhealthy fats which are stored by the body. Seniors can take advantage of the energy provided by avocados to motivate themselves to exercise and move.
You need to find the energy to move, stretch, exercise, and socialize as you age, or you can face serious health consequences. Rather than losing independence, eat the right foods and stay healthier for longer!
Nutrition is a critical aspect of your lifestyle, which is why at Vista Springs, we provide all our community members with nutritious, well-balanced meals. Take our short lifestyle assessment and see if assisted living may be right for you or a loved one.
This article was originally published on August 7, 2019, and was last updated on April 4, 2023.