Choosing foods that are nutrient dense is essential at this stage of your life. "Since your metabolism is slowing down, you really want to choose foods that will give you the most bang for your buck and avoid the ones that contain empty calories," says registered dietitian Lynn Grieger RD, CDE. Here, Grieger and Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RD, offer their picks for the best foods that you can eat to keep you feeling vibrant and healthy in your 60s.
A great source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed has been shown in studies to lower cholesterol levels. Grieger recommends buying ground flaxseeds in order to ensure you are getting the benefits of their oils. Sprinkle over cold and hot cereals or blend into a smoothie.
Recommended Serving Size: 1 tablespoon, ground, 40 calories
These nuts contain vitamin E, zinc, and magnesium -- essential for bone density. "People really don't get as much magnesium as they should, so eating almonds is an easy way to get your daily requirement," says Grieger.
Recommended Serving Size: 23 almonds, 160 calories
Did you know that a woman's risk of heart disease rises to the same level as a man's after she has experienced menopause? That's why, Grieger says, "It's really important to watch your cholesterol levels at this age." The fiber in plain oatmeal can help lower your level of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, also known as the "bad" cholesterol.
Recommended Serving Size: 1 cup cooked, 100 calories
The large amount of antioxidants, fiber, and potassium make this fruit a super-healthy choice. The carotenoids found in mangoes can help to prevent age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of vision loss in older people.
Recommended Serving Size: 1 fruit, 135 calories
Give your metabolism a boost with these super-high-fiber fruits. Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints in our country, and the incidence increases in those over 60 years old. "Dried plums can really help with digestion," says Bissex. "I recommend them highly."
Recommended Serving Size: 5 fruits, 100 calories
Research shows that the antioxidant lycopene, found in tomatoes, can decrease your risk of getting several forms of cancer including, breast, ovarian, colon, and prostate. And interestingly, canned tomatoes provide significantly more lycopene than fresh tomatoes. "They are very health enhancing," says Bissex. "You don't have to feel guilty eating pizza or pasta. Just be sure to add veggies!"
Recommended Serving Size: 1/2 cup, 40 calories
Originally published on BHG.com, March 2005.