Sweet summertime is here, bringing with it plenty of sunshine and warm weather. Summer is a perfect time to enjoy fruits and vegetables because so many varieties are at their peak of freshness and quality. But did you know that these popular summer fruits and veggies can also offer some surprising health benefits for seniors? Here’s a look at five summer produce items that are both delicious and nutritious:
There’s nothing better than a slice of cold watermelon on a warm summer day. For older adults, this can be a particularly healthy fruit. Not only is it low in calories, but it also has an incredibly high water content–each bite is about 92% water! Older adults face a higher risk for dehydration, and this risk only increases in the hot summer months. Snacking on watermelon is a tasty and refreshing way for older adults to stay hydrated and healthy.
Technically a fruit, tomatoes offer a number of health benefits to older adults. They are known to help protect against disease, maintain healthy blood pressure, and reduce blood glucose in people with diabetes. Tomatoes get their red color from lycopene, a plant compound that can help prevent certain types of cancer. Add tomatoes to salads, sandwiches, and soups, or drink tomato juice to reap these health benefits.
Summer is prime time for strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. These colorful summer berries are chock full of antioxidants and vitamins that help our bodies fight against illness and disease. Blueberries, in particular, have been shown to promote healthy aging. In one study, older adults ages 65-77 who drank concentrated blueberry juice every day showed improvements in cognitive performance and blood flow to the brain. Try adding berries to salads, smoothies, yogurt, or top them with whipped cream for a light summer dessert!
In season from June through September, green beans are rich in flavor and nutrients. They are high in fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K. They also contain folate, a vitamin that helps to fight depression. Green beans are versatile; they taste great when sauteed, tossed in a salad or soup, or baked into a casserole.
Cherries pack some serious health benefits into a small package! They come in a variety of flavors and colors that range from yellow to dark red. Along with vitamin C and fiber, cherries – especially tart cherries – contain melatonin, which is known to provide sleep-regulating benefits. Drinking a cup of cherry juice before bed is considered a healthy and natural way to promote better sleep.
Healthy eating for healthy aging
It’s recommended that older adults eat five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables every day, but more often than not, older adults don’t reach this goal. Research suggests that adults tend to eat less fresh produce as they grow older, in part due to decreased appetite or problems with chewing or swallowing.
Retirement communities like Bethany Village know the importance of senior nutrition for overall health and wellness. That’s why our community offers residents delicious, chef-prepared meals that incorporate fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables prepared in creative and delicious ways. Plus, with several different dining venues, the dining experience at Bethany Village was designed to foster a sense of community and friendship among residents.
Want to learn more about the dining experience at Bethany Village? Schedule a visit and stay for a meal in our community. We would be delighted to have you and your loved one join us for lunch or dinner.