Healthy Foods: 5 Foods You Should Eat In Midlife

Avocadoes at market
Avocadoes at market

Bet you thought you knew what we were going to tell you here, right? Stuff like: drink plenty of water and finish your kale, no matter how bitter it tastes. Nuh-uh. We're into surprises here, so here are five foods that you likely didn't know you should be eating if you are post-50. And if you did know them, well, congratulations -- you will presumably live longer and healthier than the rest of us.

1. Grapefruit.
If you aren't taking certain medications, eating grapefruit is a great way to maintain your weight, lower your cholesterol and curb your hunger. A grapefruit a day can help lower "bad" cholesterol levels by 15.5 percent and triglycerides by 27 percent, according to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. But if there's a cholesterol-busting statin, like the popular Lovastatin, in your Post50 medicine chest, avoid grapefruit. In fact, there are more than 40 drugs that have a negative interaction with grapefruit, so best to ask your doctor if your medicines are on the list.

2. Blueberries.
AKA dubbed "brainberries" by Steven Pratt, a doctor and author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life, researchers say blueberries protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the severity of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. In the lab, blueberries significantly improved both the learning ability and motor skills of aging rats, making them act much younger. (We assume that rats who thought they should spend their retirement funds on red Corvettes were excluded from the study.) Seriously, add a cup of blueberries a day to your diet.

3. Sardines.
Sure you faithfully grill up some salmon because you know that foods rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids are good for aging bodies. But our sardine bests your salmon by a long shot, and we'll up the ante with some herring. Deep-water fish, such as salmon, are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are crucial for strong brain function. Omega-3s also contain anti-inflammatory substances. You should be eating a four-ounce serving two or three times a week. Yes, sardines.

4. Avocados.
We admit we have a love-hate relationship with avocados. Avocados are almost as good as blueberries in promoting brain health, but oy, such a fatty fruit -- albeit a good fatty fruit. Monunsaturated fats help with a healthy blood flow. They reduce blood pressure -- good for those with hypertension. But they also rock the calorie chart, so go easy on them. Suggested portion side is a 1/4 to 1/2 an avocado. Lose the chips with the guacamole while you're at it.

5. Green coffee beans.
Ground green coffee beans, used daily, seem to spur steady weight loss, according to 2012 research. Before you get too excited, this was a small 22-week study funded by Applied Food Sciences, which makes a green coffee antioxidant supplement.

Still, we like the idea that 16 overweight men and women lost an average of 17 pounds without dropping their forks or changing their diet in any way; it's kind of a fantasy we have that we can keep eating what we want and the pounds will just fly off without us doing a thing.

OK, stay tuned for more research before you try this one.



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