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2 Vegetables That Boost Health in Seniors

By Lee Nyberg, 9:00 am on

Vegetables are loaded with vital nutrients for the body and are often recommended for seniors living in Lincoln, NE. Senior home care professionals at Home Care Assistance suggest 2 important veggies family caregivers can add to their aging loved one’s diet.

1. Beets

Senior Bonuses

  • Reduce dementia risk
  • Relieve depression
  • Prevent blood clots and arterial hardening
  • Lower high blood pressure
  • Shield against diabetes

Reader’s Digest reports that the nitric acid in beets increases blood flow to the brain, as measured by MRI, and a report by Translational Science confirms this. Shunting blood to the brain prevents deterioration of the frontal lobe. This brain region governs memory, judgment, problem-solving, concentration, and communication. 

Elevated homocysteine causes blood clots and damage to arterial walls, and doubles the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Beets contain betaine, an amino acid which helps elevate mood, and protects against heart disease and stroke by lowering homocysteine. The amino acid is a byproduct of protein metabolism.

Beet juice lowers systolic blood pressure by five points within a few hours, as reported by a 2012 Australian study cited by WebMD and published in Nutrition Journal. Beets dilate and relax blood vessels and are chock full of Vitamin K, making diabetes less likely to occur in seniors.

Bolster Beet’s Benefits

When handling beets, wear rubber gloves to keep them from staining your hands. Beets can be juiced with apples, producing a sweet elixir. Grate them raw and add the slaw to salad. Enjoy them lightly steamed or sautéed. Avoid prolonged cooking, as this destroys betaine. Cooked beets are ready to eat when you can easily pierce them with a fork.

2. Broccoli

Senior Bonuses

  • Eases arthritic knee pain
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Controls diabetes
  • Prevents osteoporosis
  • Protects against eye disease
  • Reduces Alzheimer’s risk

The Arthritis Foundation observes that broccoli preserves joint cartilage. This flexible tissue covers bone surfaces, acting as a cushion between them. With age, cartilage thins and deteriorates, and the resulting bone friction causes joint swelling, stiffness, and pain. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 30 percent of US adults over age 45 experience arthritic knee pain.

The American Diabetes Association reports that 25 percent of Americans age 65+ have high levels of cholesterol, and this is where broccoli can be useful. This green vegetable contains a compound called sulforaphane, which slows cartilage damage and its fiber functions like a broom, sweeping cholesterol from the body. The mineral chromium in broccoli regulates insulin, keeping blood sugar steady. 

Beta-carotene, a plant pigment, prevents cataracts and AMD. Broccoli helps keep bones strong by supplying calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Folate in broccoli reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Boost Broccoli’s Benefits

Broccoli is ideally eaten raw or steamed. Microwaving is another option, preserving up to 80 percent of its nutrients. Cooking at high temperatures destroys its nutrients.

A healthy and nutritious diet goes a long way in boosting a senior’s health and cognitive function. If you’re undecided on what to cook for your loved one or in-need of a break from your caregiving duties, call Home Care Assistance. Our respite and 24-hour caregivers in Lincoln, NE, provide healthy and nutritious meals for your loved one along with a range of physical and social activities to stave off dementia, depression, and Alzheimer’s. To create a custom care plan for your aging loved one, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers today at (402) 261-5158.