Don’t fear fruit in your later years, it can actually help you age gracefully. Here are the 4 best fruits to eat when you’re over 50, says Dietitian.
Fruit has gotten a bad reputation for being high in sugar, but there are many benefits of fruit that impact our health in the second half of life!
Aging has unique considerations from a nutrition perspective. We want to preserve muscle mass, keep metabolism high, and prevent or manage disease as well as we possibly can.
Fruit contains a handful of essential nutrients and vitamins. Primarily, it contains carbohydrates in the form of fructose and fiber. Carbohydrates are a quick source of fuel that get digested quickly in comparison to other macronutrients like protein and fat. Read more: 5 best vegetables to eat after 50 years old
Further, the risk for chronic disease and elevated lab markers is higher in the second half of life. This includes high cholesterol, elevated blood sugar, and blood pressure. Some fruits offer a winning combo of nutrients to help prevent chronic disease! So, what are those fruits? Let’s dive in!
All berries are especially rich in fiber and low in sugar per cup, but raspberries take the cake with eight grams of fiber per serving.
Raspberries are high in soluble fiber, which is particularly useful in reducing cholesterol. Soluble fiber pulls water into the digestive tract and binds cholesterol during digestion to help remove it from the body.
Lower cholesterol levels are associated with a decreased risk for heart disease and diabetes, and our risk for these two health conditions increases with age.
Incorporate a serving of berries into your day as part of breakfast on oatmeal or cereal or as a snack paired with a handful of nuts.
Raspberry nutrition facts
One cup of fresh raspberries (123g) provides 64 calories, 1.5g of protein, 14.7g of carbohydrates, and 0.8g of fat. Raspberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber. The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA.
Vitamin C: 32.2mg
Carbs: Raspberries are low in carbohydrates compared to many other fruits. There are under 15 grams of carbohydrates per cup, with an impressive 8 grams coming from fiber. Just 5.4 grams are from natural sugar.
The glycemic index of raspberries is 25, and the glycemic load is 2. Berries, in general, are considered one of the better fruit choices for anyone who is watching their blood sugar.
Fats: Raspberries contain minimal fat, less than 1 gram per cup. The majority of fatty acids in raspberries are polyunsaturated.
Protein: Raspberries are not a significant source of protein. They contain 1.5 grams per cup.
Vitamins and Minerals: Raspberries are rich in many essential vitamins and minerals. For vitamins, raspberries have vitamin C, most of the B-vitamins (especially folate), vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin K. The minerals in raspberries include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium.
2. Green Apples
Apples are a perfect portable snack. High in fiber and low in sugar, this fruit is naturally pre-packaged and ready to go.
Green apples are lower in sugar and have a smaller impact on blood sugar, which is important because balanced blood sugars keep our energy levels stable and may decrease our risk for diabetes or pre-diabetes later in life.
Pairing your fruits with a protein and fiber source, like nuts, is a great way to better influence blood sugar—regardless of the type of fruit you choose!
Apple nutrition Facts
One medium-sized apple (200g) provides 104 calories, 0.5g of protein, 27.6g of carbohydrates, and 0.3g of fat. Apples also provide fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. The nutrition information is provided by the USDA.
Vitamin C: 9.2mg
Vitamin A: 6mcg
Carbs: A medium apple has 27.6 grams of carbohydrates, with 4.8 grams of fiber and almost 21 grams of natural sugar. Apples have a low glycemic index between 34–38.
Fats: There is less than 1/2 gram of fat per medium-sized apple.
Protein: Apples are low in protein. A medium apple has just a 1/2 gram of protein.
Vitamins and Minerals: Apples are a good source of potassium and beta carotene. They provide some vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and calcium.
Calories: A medium, raw apple provides 104 calories. A small apple (165g) provides about 165 calories and a large apple (242g) provides 126 calories. A one-cup serving of apple slices provides about 65 calories.
Oranges are another easy-to-pack fruit that offers a key nutrient for our blood pressure: potassium.
Potassium and sodium work together to balance blood pressure: sodium can increase blood pressure, and potassium works to decrease it!
Managing blood pressure decreases our risk for cardiovascular diseases like a heart attack or stroke.
Thus, choosing high-potassium fruits may decrease blood pressure over time when combined with other lifestyle changes like exercise, stress management, and nutrition changes.
Orange nutrition facts
One navel orange (140g) provides 73 calories, 1.3g of protein, 16.5g of carbohydrates, and 0.2g of fat. Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA.
Vitamin C: 82.7mg
Carbs: One navel orange (140g) contains 73 calories and 16.5 grams of carbohydrates. Keep in mind that larger portions will contain more calories and carbs.
Even though the carbs in oranges come from simple sugars, whole oranges are also a good source of fiber and contain no added sugar. That means the glycemic effect of oranges is minimal. The estimated glycemic index for one orange is about 40, meaning it doesn’t raise your blood sugar quickly.
Fats: Oranges contain virtually no fats and are cholesterol-free.
Protein: Oranges have a minimal amount of protein. You should include other protein sources in your diet to meet your daily needs.
Vitamins and Minerals: Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, packing in more than a day’s worth of this immune-boosting nutrient in one serving. Oranges also provide bone-strengthening calcium, along with potassium and the B vitamins thiamin (B1) and folate (B9). A medium orange contains more than half the potassium found in one medium (118g) banana.
Calories: One medium-sized orange (154g) provides 73 calories, 91% of which come from carbs, 7% from protein, and 2% from fat. An orange has fewer calories than orange juice.
Orange juice has 110 calories per one-cup (8 ounce) serving compared to 73 calories for a whole orange. Orange juice is also higher in sugars, with 20g per serving versus 12g in an orange. A whole orange provides more Vitamin C than a glass of orange juice, but less potassium. Both can be a part of a nutrient-rich diet.
Melon is high in vitamin C and water and offers a huge benefit to the health of our skin. Melon is the most hydrating fruit and many types of melon clock in above 90% water.
Vitamin C works together with collagen to keep our skin looking firm as we age. Staying hydrated has a huge effect on our skin by improving its elasticity, preventing dryness, and keeping skin clear.
Our skin is helpful in removing toxins from our system, and water helps flush those out.
The benefits of staying hydrated reach beyond our skin health too. Our brain function, nervous system, and joints all function more optimally when we are well-hydrated!
Melon nutrition facts
One cup of raw melon (177g) provides 60 calories, 1.5g of protein, 14.4g of carbohydrates, and 0.3g of fat. Melon is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium. This nutrition information is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Vitamin C: 65mg
Vitamin A: 299.1mcg
Carbs: In a 1-cup serving of melon, there are 14.4 grams of total carbohydrates with 1.6 grams of fiber and about 14 grams of natural sugar. The fiber in melon is mostly insoluble, but it contains some soluble fiber as well.
Because of its natural sugar content, melon has a glycemic index of 65. Its glycemic load (which takes serving size into account) is only 4, however, due to melon’s high water percentage.
Fats: Like most fruit, there is almost no fat in melon.
Protein: Melon provides a small amount of protein with 1.5 grams per cup. It’s not a significant source of protein.
Vitamins and Minerals: Melon provides potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins C, A, and B9 (folate). Melon is most rich in vitamin C, with one cup providing 72% of your daily recommended intake based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. Vitamin A is also abundant, with 33% of your daily intake per cup.