Healthy Aging in Florida

Florida is one of the country’s top producers of fresh fruits and vegetables. The state’s warm climate and fertile soil provide the ideal growing conditions for a wide variety of crops, from watermelons to peppers and everything in between.

The abundance of just-off-the-vine produce makes it easy for seniors living in Florida to enjoy all the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Keep reading to learn how eating Florida produce can help you enjoy a more active lifestyle. Plus, get tips on how to find the freshest, most in-season fruits and vegetables in your area.

Healthier Eating = Healthier Aging

In 2012, scientists in Germany conducted a comprehensive analysis of all the available research into diet and disease. They found that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables was linked with a reduced risk of developing many chronic diseases, including:

  • Type 2 diabetes. Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories. The German scientists theorized that eating more produce may help prevent individuals from becoming overweight, the most important risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Dementia. While more research needs to be done, the analysis quoted several promising studies from Spain, Korea and France that suggested eating more fruits and vegetables may reduce one’s risk of developing dementia. The antioxidants found in many fruits have also been linked to increased blood flow in the brain.
  • Cancer, including cancer of the esophagus and colon. Vegetables and fruits may also provide a protective effect against cancers of the oral cavity, stomach and kidneys.
  • Macular degeneration. The vitamins and fiber provided by fruits and vegetables may help prevent eye conditions like macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). While smoking is the leading cause of COPD, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may also help reduce one’s risk.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The German team also tied a diet rich in fruits and vegetables to a decreased risk of developing osteoporosis, arthritis and digestive issues like chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Their analysis also showed convincing evidence that the more produce one ate, the less likely he or she was to suffer from hypertension or experience symptoms of a stroke.

Exactly how many vegetables do you need to eat to enjoy these healthy aging benefits?

The United States Department of Agriculture recommends women age 51 and older eat 2 cups per day. Men of the same age should eat 2.5 cups.
You can enjoy your vegetables raw, cooked, fresh, frozen or mashed. A juice made from 100% vegetables can also pack a healthy aging punch, said the USDA.

nutrition wellness

Orange You Glad You Live in Florida?

In addition to produce like avocados and spinach, Florida is also the country’s top producer of oranges. For centuries, this important crop has helped the state’s residents and visitors enjoy a healthier, more active lifestyle.

In the days of the explorers, sailors brought citrus fruit like oranges on long ship voyages to prevent outbreaks of scurvy onboard. Today, scientists have linked the phytochemicals in oranges with health benefits including a reduced risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.

According to the BBC’s Good Food blog, oranges also provide anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antimicrobial benefits and are a good source of A and B vitamins, fiber, and calcium.

Healthy Aging in Florida: How to Get the Most out of the State’s Fresh Produce

Each month, the Florida Department of Agriculture publishes a list of in-season fruits and vegetables. Many of these are available for purchase in the state’s grocery stores. Or, for a fun outing, consider buying them straight from the source.

On the Farmers Market Directory, a list maintained by the Agricultural Marketing Service, you can find information about farmers markets in your area, including available produce, opening times and accepted forms of payments.

To learn more about how Sonata Senior Living’s communities integrate fresh Florida produce into their daily menus, contact us today →

Download Your Guide To Healthy Aging & Longevity in Florida

Florida sunshine does more than just boost your Vitamin D levels. It can add years to your life! Find your personal path to good health and longevity in our FREE guide to Healthy Aging in Florida.