Food provides seniors with the nutrients and energy required for good health. While eating well is important at any age, it is especially beneficial in your later years due to rising health concerns and physical limitations. A decline in cognitive function is also common among the elderly. Certain areas of the brain may shrink and communication between neurons is reduced. Seniors may also experience decreased blood flow to the brain and inflammation associated with injury or disease. As the brain controls your everyday tasks, it is vital to make the necessary changes to boost cognitive function.
The right nutrients can have a positive impact on brain health. Eating healthy foods from a variety of sources can fuel the brain and help deter issues such as fogginess, memory problems, and confusion. Referred to as “brain foods,” these delicious ingredients and meal options can fill nutritional gaps in your diet while providing extra nutrients that many older adults need to thrive. Check out the best brain foods for the elderly and how they can help boost memory and brain function over time.
Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood have been linked to declining mental function and a smaller brain volume. Salmon, in addition to other cold-water fishes like halibut, tuna, and sardines, contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). As one of the most common fatty acids in the brain, DHA helps the brain function more clearly and efficiently. What is another major perk of adding salmon to your diet? The tasty fish also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Slow down mental degradation by substituting salmon for another type of meat two to three times a week. Meat and fish are some of the most crucial brain foods for the elderly.
Not only are they delicious, but berries provide an ample source of nutrients for better brain function. Darker berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, and cherries, are especially beneficial. Berries are a rich source of anthocyanins and other advantageous flavonoids that have been found effective in boosting memory. Add a handful of berries to your cereal or eat as a stand-alone snack three times a week. While fresh berries are often best in terms of nutrition, you can also enjoy dried and frozen berries if they are more convenient for your lifestyle.
With their buttery flavor and creamy texture, avocado is a popular ingredient in many salads, breakfast foods, side dishes, and especially brain foods for the elderly. When added to your weekly diet, avocados can help keep the brain strong and healthy. Avocados are packed with monounsaturated fats, a healthy type of fat that improves cognitive function. They also contain vitamin K and folate, which have been found effective in preventing blood clots in the brain while lowering the risk of stroke. Avocados also contain vitamins B and C which help protect the brain from oxidative stress. Unless you are trying to gain weight, stick with one to two servings of avocado two to four times a week.
If you already start your mornings off with a hot cup of coffee, you are off to a good start. Coffee contains two main ingredients that can be beneficial to the brain: antioxidants and caffeine. Drinking coffee over an extended period of time has been found to ward off certain neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The caffeine present in coffee also has a number of beneficial impacts, such as increased awareness, improved mood, and sharpened concentration. However, too much of anything can have a negative impact on your health. Drink up to two cups of coffee a day to reap the health perks.
Looking for a healthy snack to replace sugary alternatives? Consider a handful of tasty walnuts. Walnuts are rich in vitamin E, which are known to trap free radicals that can cause significant damage to brain cells. Research has found that people who eat foods with higher levels of vitamin E had a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Walnuts also contain high amounts of other essential nutrients needed for good brain health, including biotin, copper, manganese, and omega-3 fats.
6. Greek Yogurt
It is common for adults to eat less meat as they reach their senior years. However, with the loss of meat sources comes a decline in protein intake. Protein is a critical macronutrient that helps preserve muscle mass in the body. As muscle mass too decreases as you age, it is more important than ever to find alternative sources of protein to fill the nutritional gaps. Current recommendations state that seniors should consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Dairy is one of the best sources of protein. One of the more frequently consumed brain foods for the elderly, creamy Greek yogurt is low in sugar, high in protein, and is available in a wide selection of yummy flavors.
You already know that eating your veggies is crucial for good health. However, not all vegetables are made equal. Broccoli, in particular, is packed with powerful plant compounds like antioxidants that help lower your risk of infections and certain types of cancer. Broccoli also delivers more than 100 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K in just one serving. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is used by the body to form sphingolipids, a form of fat found densely packed into brain cells. Add broccoli, one of the most important brain foods for the elderly, to your recommended 2.5 cups of vegetables each day.
Contact an In-Home Care Agency
As you age, your nutritional needs, food habits, and appetite begin to change. Maintaining a well-balanced diet is an essential part of staying strong and healthy. Choosing nutrient-rich foods also has a positive impact on your brain function and cognitive skills. To ensure that you are getting the vitamins and minerals you need to thrive, incorporate superfoods into your diet. From salmon to broccoli, there are tasty and nutritious options in all food groups to enjoy. For more information about the best brain foods for the elderly, contact Comfort Home Care today.