15 Significant Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables for Elderly

The newest research in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society stated that elderly who consume fruits and vegetables, and those who exercise regularly live longer than those who eat less and do not make the exercising a habit.

Meanwhile, for those who also combine the intake of fruits and vegetables along with regular exercises live significantly longer than who do only one of these things. You can read Benefits of Exercise for Circulatory and Respiratory System

Elder people are those who over the age of 75, according to Japanese Journal of Geriatrics. Based on WHO data, unlike the other age groups, the elder people are more prone to malnourishment. It is because of some factors including a lack of fund to purchase certain foods, they follow a poor diet and suffer from illness, and no one takes care of their nutrient needs.

On other hands, elderly would need calorie intake less than before due to a lower activity level, less muscle mass and more fat stores. The calorie is necessary for an inactive elder person might be around 1600-2000 per day.  Read also Foods and Drinks Calories Table

Nutrient Value of Fruits and Vegetables for Elderly

Commonly, fruits and vegetables are categorized based on its colors.  According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, red fruits and vegetables such as kidney beans, guava, red cabbage, cherries, raspberries, tomatoes, beets, and strawberries are rich in lycopene and anthocyanins. They help the body to produce Vitamin A. It is best for elder people to get 2 to 30 milligram of this carotenoid per day.  Lulo fruit is high in vitamin A, and you can find the fact here Health Benefits of Lulo Fruit

Meanwhile, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables including papaya, orange, carrots, yellow bell pepper, pumpkins and more, are rich in beta-carotene that helps to improve night vision. Green vegetables contain Vitamin K that maintain the blood pressure.

Here is the article on the benefits of curry leaves for high blood pressure. Spinach, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, zucchini, and other green leafy vegetables contain chlorophyll and isothiocyanates that actively reduce the carcinogenic agents. Green apple,  avocado, kiwi are fruits that also contain lutein that is necessary for the elderly to prevent related macular degeneration.

Furthermore, blue and purple fruits and vegetables contain anthocyanins, the natural pigment with excellent antioxidant properties that consider can reduce cardiovascular disease, while the white one is high in dietary fiber. The example is apples, bananas, cauliflowers, cucumbers, etc. You might want to know Health Benefits of Garlic Leaves to treat cardiovascular disease.

So, here is the nutrient you can get in a bowl of fruits salad made from 1/4 cup of bananas, 1/4 cup of cantaloupe, 1/4 cup of blueberries, and 1/4 cup of apples:

  • Protein 1 gram
  • Fiber 3 grams
  • Potassium 300 milligrams
  • Vitamin C 30 milligrams
  • Vitamin A 70 micrograms. 

Additionally, the nutrients from a bowl of raw vegetables made from red cabbages, carrots, peeled cucumbers, Iceberg lettuces and a little bit of dressing are:

  • Calories 33.3
  • Total Fat 0.0 g
  • Saturated Fat 0.0 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
  • Cholesterol 0.0 mg
  • Sodium 0.0 mg
  • Potassium 0.0 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 7.3 g
  • Dietary Fiber 0.0 g
  • Sugars 0.0 g
  • Protein 1.7 g

Other vitamins including vitamin A, C, D, K, Thiamin, Folate, Coline, Magnesium is also present in a light amount.

Through the fact that fruits and vegetables are excellent for elderly to consume in daily intake, there are other significant health benefits of fruits and vegetables for elderly:

  1. Maintain eye health

As mentioned earlier, green and yellow or orange fruits and vegetables are rich in beta-carotene which helps the night vision. 

  1. Reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke

By eating more than three servings of blueberries and strawberries in a week, about 32 percent of women aged 25 through 42 had a 32 percent lower risk heart attack compared to those who ate less, the study in 2013. Lycopene in tomatoes can get rid of “bad” cholesterol that keeps the blood vessel open and lowers heart attack risk.

  1. Protect against certain types of cancers

World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research suggest that non-starchy vegetables such as lettuce and other leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, as well as garlic, onions, “probably” protect against several types of cancers. For example, mouth cancer, throat, voice box, esophagus, and stomach; fruits probably also protect against lung cancer.

  1. Reduce obesity, and type 2 diabetes

Green leafy vegetables and fruits such as kale, spinach, lettuce, arugula, are considered to lower the risk of diabetes. On other hands, all vegetables and fruits are best for the diet to decrease the body weight.

  1. Lower blood pressure

Blood pressure can be lowered by consuming soy products. It is also adding protein without unhealthy fats and cholesterol. Soy products contain a high level of polyunsaturated fats, fiber, minerals, and vitamin that also decrease LDL or bad cholesterol.

  1. Combat the risk of kidney stones development

There are some proven health benefits of fruits and vegetables for elderly, such as avocados, legumes, and tofu are all excellent dietary sources for those who suffer from kidney stones and also fight its development.

  1. Help to decrease bone loss

Poor bone health can result in the condition such as rickets and osteoporosis and increase the risk of breaking the bone. Fruits and vegetables that are rich in Vitamin D and calcium such as turnip greens, kale, okra, dandelion greens, broccoli are great to maintain bone health.

  1. Help to protect against infection

Antioxidant in fruits and vegetables is potential to treat the infection from the cut wound and other skin diseases, and it increases the immune system of the body. Fruits and veggies that are great to combat skin disease are green leafy vegetables, berries, garlic, and more.

  1. Great for gum and tooth health

By chewing hard, crunchy fruits and vegetables that also contain lots of water are substantial to produce more saliva that is the best natural neutralizer of the bacteria that causes cavities, remove plaques, and food particles. So, one way to tackle the problem of gum and teeth healthy is by consuming more veggies and fruits, right?  

Recommendations to get the benefits of fruits and vegetables include:

There are many health benefits of fruits and vegetables for elderly, consume raw veggies and fruits as possible.

  • You can try pureed and smoothies
  • To avoid bruising, use a sharp knife to cut fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Cut off only the inedible parts of vegetables – sometimes the best nutrients are found in the skin, just below the surface or in the leaves.
  • Use stir-fry, grill, microwave, bake or steam methods with non-stick cookware and mono-unsaturated oils.
  • Do not overcook, to reduce nutrient loss.
  • Serve meals with vegetable pestos, salsas, chutneys and vinegar in place of sour cream, butter, and creamy sauces.

Eat rainbow! It means that you have to add more color to your meal to get more benefits.

Several nutrients such as carotenoids may increase when the food is cooked and processed. For instance, lycopene in tomatoes would expand when it is heated. Try to prepare fruits and veggies in a variety of ways.