Good nutrition plays a major role not only in our overall health, but it is necessary for improving and maintaining proper brain functions. It’s a known fact that the vitamins and nutrients found in a healthy diet can lower your risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease, hypertension and diabetes, but scientific research has also shown that proper nutrition can also aid in slowing down cognitive decline as we age.
While the National Institute of Health says that there is insufficient evidence to show that food can actually prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it can certainly slow its progress by warding off physical problems that can contribute to brain decline, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and more.
At Bayshore Memory Care we strive to offer healthy and delicious meal options for our residents. Consider the suggestions below and plan a brain-boosting diet sure to please your body and soul!
Here are seven top food categories that can help seniors maintain a healthy brain:
Tuna, salmon and similar fish are high in DHA and omega-3 fatty acids, which help to boost our brain’s normal function. As an added benefit, fish are significantly lower in artery-clogging fats than red meat.
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and nutrients that help prevent oxidative stress, which is higher in aging adults. They may help with age-related medical problems like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Oils, Nuts and Whole Grains
Research shows that foods that are high in vitamin E can help keep neurons in the brain alive longer. Since Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the death of neurons, a healthy dosage of vitamin E may help slow the progress of the disease. A diet rich in oil-based salad dressings, nuts and grains can ensure that individuals consume enough vitamin E.
Avocados are great for mental health because they are high in monounsaturated fat, which helps stimulate blood flow to the brain, and are known to help lower blood pressure. Both benefits can help to boost overall brain health, so enjoy that bowl of guacamole!
Like anyone else trying to achieve optimal health, aging adults should eat plenty of dark, green, leafy vegetables. Kale, broccoli and spinach are all excellent sources of folate and vitamin E. Although scientists are not sure how folate protects the brain, research indicates this nutrient lowers the amount of homocysteine in the blood. Lower levels of homocysteine means less risk of nerve cell death.
Studies show that drinking two or three cups of tea a day can enhance an individual’s mood, memory and focus. In addition, tea has a type of antioxidant known as catechins that help to boost blood flow and eliminate free radicals caused by environmental toxins such as cigarette smoke, industrial chemicals and even by-products formed in our own digestive system. Additionally, when consumed in moderation, the caffeine in the tea can improve an individual’s ability to focus and stay alert.
Sunflower seeds are also a great source of brain-boosting vitamin E. A single ounce of these seeds provides 30 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin E. They can be sprinkled on a salad or eaten as a snack for a quick vitamin E boost.
Healthy living is important for every age group. Optimal nutrition can help to slow the progress of mental decline and aid in the pursuit of overall physical wellness. At Bayshore Memory Care, in Naples, Fla., aging adults will find a state-of-the-art community designed solely for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Bayshore’s Heartfelt Connections™ Memory Care Program is nationally recognized for offering people with Alzheimer’s disease, and other diseases that affect the mind, the care and resources they need to maintain physical and emotional well-being and a high quality of life.
Our community combines the best of new design, personalized and specialized services, and high-end amenities in a refreshingly elegant setting. The next generation in senior living memory care is right here in Naples—it’s a beautiful place to live. For more information regarding the services offered at Bayshore, visit our Contact Us page, or call 239-213-9370.