There’s an old saying that states, “You are what you eat.” This means that if you are eating unhealthy foods, it can come back and bite you where… well, you know the rest. However, getting enough healthy foods may improve your overall health. When seniors eat certain types of foods, it can make a difference to not only their body mechanism but also the way they think, comprehend, remember, and learn. Eating specific foods can also help prevent or block diseases from either developing or occuring in the first place. The foods we eat may help prevent or delay conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease in certain older adults as well. Plus, what we eat can also affect the aging brain by preventing the ability to memorize important tasks. Remembering where things are located around your own house can also become difficult. Yet there is help. Below are just some of the best foods that can boost your memory and improve brain function.
1. Green leafy vegetables
So you were told to eat your veggies as a kid. Well, there is some wisdom in that. There have been some studies, according to the CDC, that prove that seniors who eat a healthy dose of Green leafy vegetables can lower their chances of age-related cognitive declines and can boost your immune system. They are also a good source of vitamins A, K, and C. It is also believed that the darker the vegetable, the better it is for your health. Leafy greens can also provide sustainable nutrients that help protect against heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.
Other veggies to consider
Leafy greens are definitely one type of food that can provide benefits to your brain memory, but there are also plenty of other veggies that help seniors build up their memory. These include Broccoli, Carrots, Potatoes, Zucchini, and many more. Many of these vegetables are versatile and can be eaten in different ways, whether it is raw or cooked. One example is Kale. Kale has a good source of Vitamins and can be used in soups, salads, smoothies, or turned into chips.
Even though fruits in general do not necessarily show a great benefit to improved memory, berries, on the other hand, can help reduce or delay cognitive declines in older adults. Most berries offer higher levels of flavonoids and may prevent dementia or other conditions that also affect seniors, especially in Women. One study by RespectCaregivers.org, states 14 main benefits that berries have on the aging body. They can lower your cholesterol, manage blood sugar and insulin levels, help ease inflammation, and keep arteries clear, just to name a few. Plus, they are a great source of antioxidants and help you fight against many types of cancers. Berries are also a good source of Manganese, Copper, Folate, Vitamin K, and Vitamin C. The most common berries bought throughout the US are strawberries and blueberries. Both are full of good nutrition and should be eaten at least twice a week.
Next on our list is Nuts. Nuts are good for your health and for many reasons. They provide several types of benefits, such as anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular, and promote brain health due to the flavonoid content they possess. According to WedMD, nuts provide one of the main sources of ALA omega-3 fatty acids, and can lower an older adult’s chance of rheumatoid arthritis, including, protecting them against both Alzheimer’s and dementia. There are a variety of nuts out there, and they all can provide benefits such as diabetes control, weight loss, lower cholesterol, plus a good source of Vitamin E. However, Walnuts do have more polyphenols, than most other nuts. Polyphenols protects the body against free radicals, while also reducing inflammation. Walnuts are also a great source of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
4. Whole Grains
Another great choice for foods that can boost brain health is Whole Grains. Whole grains have plenty of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins B and E, as well as a good source of healthy fats and fiber. They also provide a stable amount of energy. Seniors should eat about 3 servings of whole grains each day to boost your brain health and keep you stronger throughout the week. However, eating whole grains are not for everyone. Some people are Gluten-intolerant and may need to skip certain grains, or focus on gluten-free alternatives instead. When looking at whole grains at the store, keep this in mind: look at the labels and for the “Whole Grains stamp”. For example, if is states, “Good Source”, then it contains at least 8g of whole grains per serving; “Excellent Source”, then it contains at least 16g of whole grains per serving; and “100% / Excellent” , then all the grain is whole grain and contains at least 16g of whole grains per serving.
Adding fish to your daily diet can provide good sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. SOme great choices of fish are salmon, cod, tuna, and pollack. They each offer unsaturated fats and are full of vitamin B12 and D, which can help improve your memory and learning abilities. Choosing to add fish to your diet also can help seniors prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other mental health conditions that are common in older adults. They can increase bone health, fight against immune deficiencies, and much more.
Poultry is a good source of lean protein. Research suggest that eating chicken or even turkey, at least two times a week, whether as a main dish or a sandwich can help older adults with brain health and decrease chances of memory loss. Seniors should also consider a low-fat diet.
Beans, which also includes legumes, like lentils and soybeans are a good food source that can increase brain health in seniors. When seniors eat at least 3 servings of beans per week, it can increase cognitive performance and can add the right amount of protein, nutrients, and antioxidants.
8. Olive Oil
Whether it is for roasting, frying, baking, or sauteing, extra virgin olive oil provides an excellent amount of antioxidants and is full of heart-healthy fats. EVOO, as some call it, is used often in mediterranean dishes and low-fat meals. It also helps seniors improve cognitive function and provides healthy benefits against heart disease, cancer, and inflammation.
Other options to consider
Considered one of the top best foods for your brain, wine can provide many powerful antioxidants and can help seniors who may be experiencing cognitive declines. When seniors combine wine with a nutritious diet of fruits and vegetables, it can boost brain health and help reduce the risk of dementia and other conditions affecting the brain. It is advised to drink wine in moderation though. Too much wine, or an excess of any form of alcohol can cause brain fog in some older adults. Having just a small glass of red wine before bed may also help seniors relax and sleep better.
Okay, coffee is like the most popular drink among seniors. In fact, almost 70% of older adults in America are coffee drinkers. Coffee helps stable your mood, increase alertness, and improve concentration. T can also fight off brain tiredness and fatigue. Some research also states that drinking coffee reduces the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and strokes. The best time to drink a cup of coffee is with your morning breakfast. Although, some people tend to have a second cup during the day. However, it is not necessary to have coffee after 3 pm, since it may affect sleep patterns in some older adults.
Tea- Green Tea:
Green Tea contains antioxidants, which can help prevent cell damage, which tends to cause aging and the development of cancer. Some teas, such as green tea may lower your cholesterol levels, increase bone density, and improve dental health as well. Green tea can also boost your metabolism and keep you healthy and on-the-go.
Who doesn’t like chocolate? I mean, it is sweet, creamy, and great on almost any dessert, or just by itself. Chocolate comes in 3 forms: white, milk, or dark. They all are yummy, but did you know that dark chocolate is actually the best choice? Dark chocolate can boost your mood, improve cognitive functions, and increase your mental health. Dark chocolate can also increase levels of dopamine, which then stimulates the brain and makes us feel better. It is believed, the darker the chocolate, the better is is for your overall health.
For seniors, eating eggs can benefit them by increasing their acetylcholine levels, which is found in the yolk. This helps boost the neuromuscular signal transmissions in the body and improves brain mental functioning. Eggs are also a good source of vitamin B12 and B6, which will lower the risk of developing depression and dementia in older adults.
What to avoid for aging adults
Although there are many types of foods that are healthy for brain health, there are a few that should be avoided or could even do more damage, especially for aging adults. Here are some that seniors should stay away from.
- Red meat
- Butter and stick margarine
- Pastries and sweets
- Fried or fast food