Protecting senior brain power is essential to his/her quality of life. While it’s not possible to prevent some cognitive decline, an aging adult’s diet does influence their mental agility. Research supports the axiom, “You are what you eat.” Studies also show that the best brain foods are also those that protect our heart and blood vessels. They’re especially rich in healthful components like B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and other antioxidants that promote blood flow and brain health.
Here are eight superfoods that promote optimal senior brain power:
The healthy unsaturated fat in avocados supports the brain and combats cognitive decline. They are loaded with several of the brain’s most valued nutrients, including vitamin C, folate, vitamin E, and copper. Enjoy avocados on a sandwich, salad, or dip, and indulge as often as possible to boost brain power.
The antioxidant compounds in blueberries have been shown to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain and throughout the body. Research also shows that this fruit may help protect the brain from the damage caused by free radicals and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Enjoy blueberries every day in a morning smoothie or as a topping for cereal or yogurt.
Beyond boosting alertness, coffee has been shown to improve memory and potentially decrease the risk of dementia. It’s also an excellent source of antioxidants, which may support brain health as we age. If you or your senior aren’t coffee drinkers, try black or green teas, which also have brain-boosting antioxidants.
Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are potent antioxidants that can improve blood flow to the brain. Research also shows that dark chocolate can combat fatigue and the effects of aging while boosting mood, focus, and alertness. Eat dark chocolate with a high cacao content (72% or greater) for the most significant benefits. It’s low in sugar and still tastes great.
Rich in the antioxidant lutein, spinach – packed with vitamin E, vitamin K, and folate – has been shown to help boost memory function. Beyond spinach, greens like kale, collards, and mustard greens may also be effective in slowing down the brain’s aging process. In a smoothie, salad, sautéed, or stir-fried, dark leafy greens are a delicious way to support brain health.
Fatty fish like salmon are the ultimate brain food. Diets higher in essential fatty acids (EFAs), which are found in salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, and sardines, have been linked with a lower risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and slower mental decline. In addition, they produce serotonin, the good mood brain chemical. Enjoy fatty fish two or three times a week to feel better and support your brain health.
With almost twice as many antioxidants as other nuts, walnuts are full of heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory nutrients. They are a good source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which helps promote blood flow for efficient oxygen delivery to the brain. Walnut consumption may also improve memory. In a 2015 study from UCLA, walnut consumption was linked to improved cognitive test scores. Sprinkle walnuts over salads and yogurt. Mix them into muffins. Or just grab a handful during the day for a snack packed with protein.
Whole grains like brown rice, barley, bulgur wheat, oatmeal, whole-grain bread, and pasta are rich in many B vitamins that work to reduce inflammation of the brain, potentially preserving memory. Choose whole grains with a low glycemic index that release glucose slowly into the bloodstream to keep the brain alert throughout the day.
In addition to helping with healthy meal preparation, the carefully screened, trustworthy caregivers from First in Care assist with many household duties and chores, provide transportation for errands and doctor’s appointments, become trusted companions, and do so much more for seniors in Bradenton and Manatee County.
If your loved one needs assistance to continue living happily and independently in the place they love most, their home, call us today at (941) 803-1014 for a free consultation. We’ll be happy to tell you more about our caregiver services for seniors.