5 Healthy Foods to Keep Seniors Energized

3 Senior Women Walking

As a caregiver, you may from time to time notice drops in the energy levels of those you provide assistance to. This doesn’t always mean there is a serious issue at play (although it may) – the best course of action can often be simple dietary changes.

Recently, we brought our readers some information on the best foods for starting your day. Today, we want to go over a few clinically-backed healthy foods for seniors aimed at boosting energy beyond breakfast.

If you are looking for nutrition tips for seniors or how to boost a senior’s energy levels, dietary additions are an excellent place to start. Here’s five healthy foods to keep you energized.


1. Hummus and Carrots

This first option combines two healthy, energizing foods in one convenient snack. Hummus is made primarily of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), which are high in several types of energy-boosting nutrients including complex carbohydrates for sustained energy. Couple hummus with the easy-to-process carbohydrates and vitamin A in carrots, and you’ve covered the basics for a high-energy snack.


2. Tuna and Other Cold Water Fish

In order to survive, the biological makeup of cold water fish is high in exactly the types of nutrients that provide sustainable energy when eaten. This makes them a great choice of snack for any seniors who have recently seen a decline in their energy levels.

Low levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, for instance, have been tied to major depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.

According to one study, “. . . results suggest that patients with CFS [chronic fatigue syndrome] should respond favorably to treatment with–amongst other things–omega3 PUFAs, such as EPA and DHA.”

You may also consider combining tuna or other cold water fish with complex carbohydrates from whole grains to compound these effects – two energy-rich foods are better than one. Whole grain tuna sandwiches or salmon on whole grain crackers are excellent sources of energy. However, you’ll likely want to avoid pairing with the lower quality carbohydrates in white bread or wheat products.

Energy-Boosting Nutrients in Cold Water Fish:

  1. Protein
  2. Fatty Acids (omega-3)
  3. Vitamin B


3. Pumpkin Seeds

Around the holiday season, pumpkins are common in many households. Pumpkin products like pie or bread may drain your energy due to oversaturation of sugar. Simple carbohydrates (sugars) will provide an initial energy spike, however, this is usually followed by a crash of fatigue.

Pumpkin seeds, on the other hand, are a balanced source of energy-boosting nutrients. Some of these include potassium, magnesium, and healthy fatty acids.

Pro Tip: Cheryl Mussatto, Registered Dietitian

Cheryl Mussatto, Registered Dietitian and author of  The Nourished Brain, says, “A well-balanced diet of a variety of foods is essential for consistent energy levels. Avoid “energy boosters” such as coffee, energy drinks, and other caffeine-containing products as they are not reliable for sustained energy throughout the day. It also helps to eat small meals more frequently for consistent energy rather than splurging on a couple of big meals per day. Aim for each meal to have a balance of lean protein, vegetables, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats, helping you feel full, satisfied and energetic without overeating.

4. Watermelon

Watermelon is one of the best energy-boosting health foods for seniors for several key reasons.

Dehydration is a common cause of fatigue, especially in seniors. The best way to combat dehydration is, of course, to drink plenty of fluids – preferably water. However, you can also consider introducing some fluid-rich foods into a diet to further hydrate anyone who seems a bit more lethargic than usual. Watermelon is such a food.

Watermelon also houses a high level of a naturally occurring nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is known to relax arteries, which increases blood flow and in turn, boosts energy.

Watermelons also contain other vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial for maintaining optimal energy levels.

These Include:

  1. Vitamins A & C
  2. Potassium
  3. Antioxidants
  4. Amino-acids


5. Dark Chocolate

While it may seem odd to find chocolate on a list of healthy foods, there is a lot of solid science backing the long-term energy benefits of some types of chocolates.

Specifically, the complex carbohydrates in dark chocolate are known to supply sustainable energy throughout the day. The bump in blood sugar will also provide an immediate energy boost, which the carbohydrates should help to sustain while preventing crashes.


Final Thoughts

Overall, the important thing to remember is which nutrients boost energy and productivity. Complex carbohydrates, proteins, and good fats provide direct sources of lasting energy. Vitamins A, B, and C, along with omega-3 and potassium, keep you healthy in various ways that also result in higher energy levels. The importance of proper hydration also cannot be overstated.

Once you have a grasp on the purpose of each nutrient, you can start putting together snacks of your own for those you care for.

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