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By Jan Larraine Cox
We all have our favorite foods and would like to concentrate more on eating them. But as we age, it is even more important to save room for a variety of foods from all food groups to deliver the nutrients we need to stay healthy and energetic, especially as grandparents. Not too much of any one food group, and especially not from processed foods!
Animal products should compose 10 percent of the plate at most, and avoid the “deadly white” foods such as white bread and white rice because these cause a spike in insulin, which is very detrimental to your system and makes you tired.
The more balance and variety the better in an older diet: a cornucopia of color from a myriad of fruits and vegetables will supply what the aging body needs to thrive. Focus on “GBOMBS”: greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds/nuts.
As a bonus, the low-calorie micronutrients in such a diet not only keep you from gaining weight, but also can prevent diseases like cardiovascular, diabetes and cancer because they help repair cell walls.
Greens are the most micronutrient dense. Concentrate on kale, romaine, collards and have a large salad each day. Chew it well and fill your stomach up on salad at that mealtime. Easily blend your own dressing from a nut butter or tofu base, balsamic vinegar and a spritz of lemon juice with ginger or any herbs you enjoy. Then top your salad creation with a beautiful mixture of other vegetables, either cooked or raw.
Collard greens are the most concentrated in calcium of all greens: good for bones! They are a dark green leafy cruciferous vegetable that provides special protection against all common types of cancer. They have also been called our real-life fountain of youth as they slow aging. You can steam them in four minutes or include thinly sliced in a salad.
Beans are a high nutrient, high fiber, low-calorie food and are effective in the diet as a weight loss tool. They offer plenty of protein, fiber, folate, iron, potassium and magnesium: the ideal starch for people who are diabetic or pre-diabetic.
Onions are beneficial to the cardiovascular and immune systems and have been linked to slowing tumor growth, perfect for aging grandparents. When preparing, chop finely before heating, which releases more of the disease fighting organosulfur compounds. Onions originally grew wild in different parts of the world, and probably were a staple long before farming was invented.
Mushrooms are a superfood: they have immune boosting properties and are believed to protect against infections and cancers. Their fiber and potassium levels contribute to healthy blood pressure levels and good cardiovascular health. Notably, just one mushroom per day is thought to be linked to a 64 percent decrease in breast cancer risk.
Berries look pretty and have high health benefits. Buying them frozen saves money and also means they are not sprayed with fungicide before going to market. Berry flavonoids have anti-cancer properties, preventing DNA damage and promoting DNA repair; they are also thought to improve the ability of the arteries to dilate, helping to lower blood pressure.
The final category of GBOMBS concludes with seeds and nuts. Ground flax seeds for example are valuable for lowering blood pressure and reducing cancer cells in tumors. King Charlemagne in the 8th century required his subjects to consume it. Nuts are strongly connected with living longer, preventing heart disease, and helping with weight loss and maintenance. Be sure to work in an amount of all of these foods daily to be the best grandparent you can be!
For any questions directly for the author, you may contact Jan at firstname.lastname@example.org