5 foods with surprising health benefits for seniors

As adults grow older, medical professionals begin to provide more guidelines concerning seniors’ diets, recommending lower sugar intake, higher fruit and vegetable consumption, and portion control for meals. While seniors receive advice about what they should not be eating, recent studies have highlighted common foods that may bolster physical and mental health for people living in retirement communities. Doctors and researchers have historically noted the importance of some of these foods, but recent findings have marked how beneficial they may be for senior living. While these foods have been proven to improve the health of some individuals, seniors should always consult with a physician before significantly altering their diet.

1. Oranges may lower stroke risk
As seniors over 65 are more likely to suffer strokes than any other age group, researchers at the American Academy of Neurology sought to study the connection between diet and risk of having this type of ailment. They found that participants who suffered from a stroke were more likely to have depleted Vitamin C levels, while those with higher amounts in their systems were healthier. Scientists could not find the direct link between the vitamin and the body’s response to it, but they hypothesized that it had the ability to lower blood pressure and decrease one’s risk of having heart disease.

2. Whole body benefits from honey
Reducing cholesterol, improving skin health and strengthening the immune system are just some of the benefits the International Business Times chronicled for honey. Ripe with nutrients, healthy sugars and natural cleansing minerals, the sweetener has been the subject of a number of studies over the years. The IBT explains that honey has the ability to provide a body with the same amount of energy as a sugar drink, but may not provide the health detriments that the overconsumption of sodas does. Additionally, it explains that honey may be equally successful when placed on the outside of the body, as it may lead to decreased inflammation and smoothness of the skin.

3. Diabetes risk may lower with coffee
Coffee, whether decaffeinated or caffeinated, may be instrumental in preventing the development of diabetes, according to a study published in the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Care journal. Researchers studied information collected more than 28 different studies, which spanned more than 1 million participants, 45,000 of which had type 2 diabetes. After combing through the data to determine the effect of the drink on these individuals, scientists concluded that people who drank 1 to 6 cups of coffee per day were less likely to report the disease. Moderation, however, is key with coffee, as previous studies have linked overconsumption with health problems.

4. Tomatoes may fight cancer
A greenhouse in Leamington, Ont., has started to harvest purple tomatoes that may be beneficial in fighting off forms of both heart disease and cancer, the CBC reported. Cathie Martin, professor and plant biologist at the John Innes Center in the U.K., detailed her research to the news source, explaining that her findings indicate purple tomatoes can help prevent deadly diseases from forming. She explained that in trials, mice who consumed purple tomatoes survived 30 percent longer than those who ate red ones. The tomatoes will be squeezed for their juice, which will be shipped to British heart patients and further studied.

5. Dark chocolate could lower blood pressure
Australian researchers studied the diets of 850 individuals who had participated in prior trials to determine how dark chocolate may affect one’s health. Published in the Cochrane Library, scientists discovered that those who ate dark chocolate experienced much lower blood pressure than those who consumed none. While they did not recommend a specific amount for individuals to eat for maximum health benefits, they noted that the antioxidants in the sweet treat were beneficial to blood circulation.