Food Tips for the Young at Heart

Want to live long and well? Build these super foods into your daily diet.

From the WebMD Archives

Good nutrition is so much more than food to eat. Food and beverages that contain a powerhouse of nutrients can not only satisfy your appetite, but also ward off chronic diseases and keep you looking your best. How do you get enough of the super-nutritious foods every day? Try these tips from WebMD's director of nutrition, Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD.

Antioxidant Super Foods

Antioxidants help prevent cellular damage. Eat plenty of foods rich in antioxidants such as almonds, berries, citrus, carrots, spinach, tomatoes, and bell peppers.

  1. Top your cereal with almonds or berries; add tomatoes to sandwiches, soups or stews; layer your whole grain bread sandwich with slices of peppers and fresh spinach.
  2. Pack a snack bag of nuts, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, and bell pepper slices for a nutritious pick-me-up between meals.
  3. Fruit and nut granola bars stash easily into briefcases for quick energy and a tasty treat.


Calcium is the super nutrient that keeps bones and teeth strong. Now research shows that low-fat dairy also helps people lose weight! The best sources of calcium come from the cow.

  1. Start your day with café au lait made with half skim milk and half strong coffee. Or order your latte skinny at your favorite coffee house. Add a bowl of whole grain cereal topped with skim milk and fresh fruit for a breakfast of champions.
  2. Snack on low-fat yogurt or cheese between meals for an energizing treat.
  3. Calcium-fortified juices and cereals are excellent alternatives to meet your three-a-day requirement.

Fiber does wonderful things for the body, from lowering cholesterol levels, keeping you regular, and perhaps preventing certain cancers. Grandma called it roughage and we need plenty of it each day.

  1. Read food labels to find whole grain breads and cereals that provide three or more grams of fiber per serving. A bowl full of bran or high-fiber cereal is a great start to meeting your daily needs.
  2. Load up on whole fruits and veggies for a healthy dose of fiber. Aim for five to nine servings a day. Juices don't contain as much fiber as whole fruit.
  3. Beans are loaded with fiber and protein, so add them to soups, stews, salads, eggs, and salsas.

This super nutrient is a newcomer on the block and is gaining in popularity.

  1. Tofu takes on the flavor of foods that it is cooked with. Try a stir-fry of colorful veggies and cubed tofu with a light Asian sauce for a quick meal. You can also find cereals at the store loaded with both soy and fiber. Serve with skim milk and you'll get three super nutrients for breakfast.
  2. Take a soy protein bar for a quick snack or lunch during the day. Soy nuts are another great portable snack option.
  3. Edamame (Japanese name for green soybeans) are snacks even kids will love! Find these nutritious nuggets in the freezer section at your supermarket. Serve them plain or with a low-fat dip.

Most of us don't get enough of this precious stuff. As a result, we may look peaked and feel fatigued. Our bodies are composed of more fluid than anything else, so water is a vital nutrient for our well-being.

  1. Fill up a quart size water bottle each morning and keep it with you for quick and refreshing drinks throughout the day.
  2. Don't rely on thirst; this sensation diminishes with age. Drink often and choose from nutritious liquids, including 100% fruit and vegetable juices, skim or low fat milk, broths, sparkling water, and teas.
  3. You can also get fluids from foods, especially those that are liquid at room temperature. Try gelatin, frozen yogurt, soups, watermelon, pickles, oranges, lettuce, tomatoes, etc.
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SOURCE: Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD/LD, is director of nutrition for WebMD, and a former spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

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