10 Nutrient Rich Foods You Might Not Typically Eat, But Should

Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by Candi Randolph

As we oh-so gracefully step into the mature years, our bodies start to demand a little extra care. Think of it like maintaining a classic car – you wouldn’t use the same oil you did 30 years ago, would you?

The same goes for our diet.

Healthy eating habits become crucial for health and wellness, especially for us women over 50. So, I’m excited to share some surprising superfoods that can give us the boost we need to stay vibrant and healthy. You might be familiar with most of them, but some maybe not so much.

10 nutrient rich foods you might not typically eat

So, here’s the question: how adventurous are you with food? I’m not talking about Fear Factor level, more like the willingness to try something new…a food that you might have never considered putting on a plate or in a recipe. That kind of adventurous, friend.

All that said, give these unique, nutrient rich foods some consideration, because they can be very, very good to you, and for you.

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Why Healthy Nutrition Choices Are So Important as We Get Older

First, let’s consider why our eating habits matter so much as we age. Our metabolism slows down, making it easier to gain weight and harder to lose it. Nutrient absorption also changes, meaning our bodies may not take in vitamins and minerals as efficiently as they used to. This can lead to deficiencies that affect everything from bone density to energy levels. It’s like a double-whammy as we get older.

Healthy nutrition is also key in managing and preventing common health issues that arise with age. For example, calcium and vitamin D are essential for maintaining bone health and preventing osteoporosis. Omega-3 fatty acids support heart health, reducing the risk of heart disease, which becomes more prevalent as we get older. Proper fiber intake helps keep our digestive system running smoothly, preventing issues like constipation and diverticulitis.

In short, eating well can help us maintain a healthy weight, keep our bones strong, support our heart, and ensure our digestive system works like a charm. It’s about feeling our best and staying as active and independent as possible. And I don’t know about you, my friend, but those are at the top of my list!

Well-Known Healthy Eating Reminders

Before we explore the list of lesser-known nutrient rich foods, let’s quickly review some of the basics that are worth repeating. You might get a little weary of all the reminders, but…staying hydrated is fundamental. Water is essential for almost every bodily function, from regulating temperature to lubricating joints. Drinking enough water can help keep our skin looking fresh and our energy levels stable.

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is another cornerstone of a healthy diet. They are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support overall health. Aim for a variety of colors on your plate to ensure you’re getting a range of nutrients.

Reducing processed foods and added sugars can make a big difference too. These foods often contain unhealthy fats, sodium, and sugar, which can contribute to chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Instead, focus on whole foods – those that are as close to their natural state as possible. Think fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

And let’s not forget about portion control. Even healthy foods can contribute to weight gain if we eat too much of them. Listen to your body’s hunger cues and eat until you’re satisfied, not stuffed.

10 Foods You Didn’t Know Were So Good for You After 50

1 | Chia Seeds

A nutrient rich food - A bowl of chia seeds with a wooden spoon, fresh berries, and yogurt in the background.

Tiny but mighty, chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein. They help keep you full longer, support heart health, and aid in digestion. Sprinkle them on your yogurt, blend them into smoothies, or make a chia seed pudding.

These little seeds also help regulate blood sugar levels, making them a great addition to your diet if you’re keeping an eye on glucose levels. Plus, chia seeds are incredibly versatile—add them to baked goods, mix them into oatmeal, or even use them to thicken sauces and soups.

2 | Kimchi

A vibrant bowl of kimchi with fermented vegetables, sesame seeds, green onions, and ingredients like garlic, ginger, and chili peppers in the background.

Kimchi, a Korean staple, is not just delicious but also packed with probiotics and vitamins. It’s fantastic for gut health. 

It is a fermented vegetable dish that’s full of probiotics, which are great for gut health. Kimchi also contains vitamins A, B, and C, and its spicy kick can help boost metabolism. Add it to salads, rice bowls, or enjoy it as a side dish.

The fermentation process enhances the bioavailability of nutrients, so you’re getting a nutrient-packed punch with every bite. Plus, the probiotics in kimchi can improve digestion, boost your immune system, and even help with weight management.

3 | Sardines

a beautifully plated dish of sardines with fresh herbs, lemon slices, and a basket of crackers on a rustic wooden table, with ingredients like olive oil, garlic, and fresh greens in the background.

These little fish are swimming in omega-3s, calcium, and vitamin D. Sardines are excellent for bone health and heart health. If you’re not a fan of eating them straight (they can definitely taste a little fishy), try mixing them into a salad or pasta dish.

Often overlooked, sardines are a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and vitamin D. They’re also high in protein and low in mercury. Enjoy them on whole-grain crackers, in salads, or mixed into pasta dishes.

These little guys are also rich in B vitamins, which can help keep your energy levels up.

4 | Kefir

A glass of creamy kefir with a sprig of mint, fresh berries, and a bottle of kefir in the background, set on a rustic wooden table

Kefir is a fermented milk drink that’s rich in probiotics, calcium, and protein. It’s great for your digestion and bones. Add it to your morning smoothie or enjoy it as a drink. It’s a bit tangy, but in a good way!

It is similar to yogurt but with a thinner consistency. It’s rich in probiotics, which support a healthy digestive system and immune function. Drink it on its own, add it to smoothies, or pour it over cereal. Kefir also contains calcium and vitamin K2, which are essential for bone health—an important consideration as we age. Its probiotics can also help combat lactose intolerance, making it easier to digest than regular milk.

5 | Turmeric

A nutrient rich food - a cup of golden turmeric milk garnished with a cinnamon stick, fresh turmeric roots, a jar of honey, and spices like cinnamon and black pepper in the background

Turmeric is a spice with powerful anti-inflammatory properties thanks to its active compound, curcumin. It’s fantastic for overall health. Add a pinch to your soups, stews, or even your tea. Golden milk, anyone?

Add turmeric to soups, stews, or make a soothing turmeric latte. Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects can help alleviate joint pain and stiffness, making it a must-have in your spice cabinet.

You can also make a paste with turmeric and honey for a natural face mask that brightens and revitalizes your skin.

6 | Seaweed

A vibrant bowl of seaweed salad garnished with sesame seeds and a slice of lemon, with fresh ingredients like cucumbers, carrots, and a small bowl of soy sauce in the background.

Seaweed might not be the first thing you think of when you’re planning dinner, but it’s full of iodine, vitamins, and minerals. It’s essential for thyroid function.

Seaweed is nutrient-dense and full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It’s particularly high in iodine, which supports thyroid health. Snack on dried seaweed sheets, add it to salads, or include it in soups and sushi.

This interesting food also provides a source of omega-3 fatty acids, essential for brain health and cognitive function. Different types of seaweed, like nori, wakame, and kelp, can add unique flavors and textures to your meals.

7 | Edamame

A bowl of steamed edamame sprinkled with sea salt, with soybeans, a small bowl of sea salt, and a glass of water in the background on a rustic wooden table.

Edamame, or young soybeans, are rich in protein, fiber, and vitamins. They help maintain muscle mass and support heart health. Snack on them or add them to your stir-fries. They’re delicious and nutritious.

They’re also a great plant-based protein source. They also contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals like iron and magnesium. Enjoy edamame as a snack, in salads, or as a side dish. The high protein content in edamame can help maintain muscle mass, which is crucial as we age. They’re also a good source of folate, which supports cell function and tissue growth.

Steam them with a sprinkle of sea salt for a simple, satisfying snack.

8 | Hemp Seeds

A bowl of yogurt with a scattering of hemp seeds on top, garnished with fresh berries and a drizzle of honey, with a jar of hemp seeds and fresh fruits in the background.

Hemp seeds are a fantastic source of omega-3s, protein, and fiber. They’re great for heart health and digestion. Sprinkle them on your salads, yogurt, or oatmeal. They add a nice crunch!

In addition, hemp seeds are rich in healthy fats, protein, and minerals like magnesium and zinc. They’re also a complete protein source, making them a great addition to your diet. Hemp seeds also contain gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which can help reduce inflammation and support hormonal health.

And, their nutty flavor can add a delicious twist to homemade granola or energy bars.

9 | Beets

A vibrant bowl of roasted beets garnished with fresh herbs, with raw beets, a small bowl of olive oil, and garlic cloves in the background on a rustic wooden table.

Beets are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and nitrates, which can help lower blood pressure and boost overall vitality. Roast them, juice them, or add them to your salads. They’re earthy and sweet – a real treat!

Beets contain essential nutrients like folate and potassium. They support heart health and can improve blood flow. Enjoy them roasted, in salads, or as part of a fresh juice blend. Beets also contain nitrates, which can help lower blood pressure and improve exercise performance. Their natural sweetness pairs well with savory dishes, making them a versatile ingredient in your kitchen.

10 | Matcha

A steaming cup of hot matcha tea on a wooden table with a bamboo whisk, a small bowl of matcha powder, and fresh mint leaves in the background.

Matcha, a type of powdered green tea, is rich in antioxidants and L-theanine, which supports mental clarity and metabolism. Enjoy it as a tea or add it to your smoothies. It’s a little grassy but very refreshing.

It boosts metabolism, enhances mood, and supports overall health. Whisk it into hot water for a traditional matcha tea, add it to smoothies, or use it in baking.

The caffeine in matcha is released more slowly than in coffee, providing a more sustained energy boost without the jitters. Matcha also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation without drowsiness.

More Reminders That You Already Know But Sometimes Forget

happy mature woman who takes care of her health

Sometimes, when we hear something repeated over and over, we can tend to just let it go right over our pretty little heads. 

“Yep, heard that before about a million times.” So we instantly gloss over it and go on the next shiny things that are more fun, or prettier, or is a cool DIY hack, or whatever. You get the idea.

But here’s the thing, my friend. Taking care of our bodies as we get older is work – it’s a job that never ends. We don’t get to retire from self-care.

So these simple reminders are here once again, with emphasis on the ‘why’ as well as some practical tips to incorporate them into your life.

1. Embrace a Rainbow of Vegetables

We’ve all heard it before: eat your veggies! But there’s a reason this advice never gets old. Vegetables are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that our bodies need to function at their best. Aim to fill half your plate with a variety of colorful vegetables at each meal. Think leafy greens, bell peppers, carrots, and beets. The more color, the better!

Why It Matters: As we age, our risk for chronic diseases increases, but a diet rich in vegetables can help reduce inflammation and protect against conditions like heart disease and cancer . Plus, they’re low in calories and high in fiber, which can help with weight management.

Quick Tip: Try roasting a mix of your favorite veggies with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. It’s a delicious way to enjoy them without much fuss.

2. Prioritize Protein

As we age, maintaining muscle mass becomes increasingly important, and protein plays a crucial role in this. Incorporate lean protein sources into your diet such as chicken, fish, beans, and tofu. Don’t forget about plant-based proteins like lentils and quinoa, which are also great options.

Why It Matters: Protein is essential for repairing tissues, producing enzymes and hormones, and supporting immune function . It also helps you feel fuller for longer, which can prevent overeating.

Quick Tip: Add a scoop of protein powder to your morning smoothie for an easy boost. Or, make a batch of hard-boiled eggs to have on hand for a quick and convenient snack.

3. Healthy Fats are Your Friend

Gone are the days of fearing fat. Healthy fats are essential for brain health, hormone production, and overall well-being. Include sources of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet like salmon, chia seeds, and walnuts. Avocados and olive oil are also fantastic choices.

Why It Matters: Healthy fats help absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K, reduce inflammation, and can even lower the risk of heart disease . They’re also great for maintaining healthy skin and hair.

Quick Tip: Drizzle some olive oil over your salad or add a few slices of avocado to your toast for a tasty, nutrient-dense treat. Or, sprinkle some flaxseeds on your yogurt or oatmeal for a quick omega-3 boost.

4. Fiber is Key

Fiber is important for digestive health and can help keep you feeling full longer. Women over 50 should aim for at least 21 grams of fiber per day. Foods high in fiber include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes.

Why It Matters: Fiber helps regulate your digestive system, preventing constipation and promoting regular bowel movements . It can also help control blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol.

Quick Tip: Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal topped with fresh berries and a sprinkle of chia seeds for a fiber-rich breakfast. Or, add some black beans or lentils to your salads and soups.

5. Don’t Skip Meals

Skipping meals can lead to overeating later in the day and can negatively impact your metabolism. Aim for three balanced meals a day, with healthy snacks if needed. This helps keep your energy levels stable and prevents those dreaded mid-afternoon slumps.

Why It Matters: Regular meals provide your body with a steady source of energy and nutrients, helping to maintain blood sugar levels and prevent binge eating . Consistency is key to feeling your best.

Quick Tip: Keep healthy snacks like nuts, fruit, or yogurt on hand for when hunger strikes between meals. Planning your meals and snacks ahead of time can also help you stay on track.

6. Monitor Bone Health

As we age, our bones can become more brittle, leading to an increased risk of fractures. Ensuring that you get enough calcium and vitamin D is essential for maintaining bone health. Include dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified foods in your diet, and consider a supplement if needed.

Why It Matters: Adequate calcium and vitamin D intake can help prevent osteoporosis and maintain strong bones .

Quick Tip: Spend a little time in the sun each day to boost your vitamin D levels naturally. Just be sure to wear sunscreen to protect your skin!

7. Listen to Your Body

Finally, it’s essential to listen to your body and pay attention to how different foods make you feel. Everyone is unique, and what works for one person might not work for another. Keep a food diary if necessary to track what you eat and how it affects your energy, digestion, and overall well-being.

Why It Matters: Being in tune with your body can help you make better dietary choices and identify any food sensitivities or intolerances.

Quick Tip: Reflect on how you feel after meals and make adjustments as needed. Sometimes, small changes can have a significant impact on your health and happiness.

Conclusion: Nutrient Rich Foods You Might Not Know About

These superfoods might not be the first things that come to mind when you think of healthy eating, but they can make a big difference in your health and wellness. Experiment with adding these them, one at a time, to your diet and see how you feel.

Remember, a balanced diet and healthy eating habits are the keys to staying vibrant and enjoying life to the fullest after 50. Here’s to healthy aging and feeling fabulous!

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discover 10 surprising foods that you may not realize should be in your diet as you age


2 thoughts on “10 Nutrient Rich Foods You Might Not Typically Eat, But Should”

  1. Christina M Daggett

    This is such great information, Candi, and for me worth saving. We are moving to Latvia, and now that we’ll be in the EU, these products will be easier for me to find and add to my diet. I wish more people took the time to research what to eat to promote a healthy lifestyle, instead of following the latest fad diet. I will share on FB. xx

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