They say you are what you eat. A healthy diet is key to a healthy body. Eating a nutritious diet with foods rich in vitamins and low in sugar and fats can have a number of physical benefits and, more specifically, can reduce your risk of chronic illness such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and even certain types of cancer.
But did you know the foods you eat can also have an impact on your brain health? According to recent studies, incorporating certain foods into your diet can help protect brain cells, potentially reducing the risk of memory loss and cognitive decline, as well as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Top Foods for Brain Health
Prepackaged and processed foods may be easy to reach for when you’re hungry, but they don’t provide the nutritional value seniors need to keep their bodies and minds healthy. To get the most out of your diet, reach for fresh foods, particularly those found on the outer aisles of the grocery store, including plenty of fruits, veggies, dairy and meats. And make sure to regularly incorporate some of the following brain healthy superfoods:
- Leafy greens. Green leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli, romaine lettuce, collards and other greens are particularly high in vitamins A, C, E and iron—all essential in helping to reduce cognitive decline as you age. In fact, research shows that eating up to six servings of leafy vegetables each week may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Plus, they’re easy to prepare! Many leafy greens can be enjoyed raw or streamed. Just be sure not to offset their nutritional value by dosing them in high sugar dressings or large amounts of butter.
- Nuts. Walnuts, almonds and other nuts are often praised for their heart healthy properties. High in healthy fats, fiber and antioxidants, regularly incorporating nuts into your diet can help reduce bad cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, all while boosting your memory. Sprinkle on salads or keep on hand for a nutritious, yet delicious snack.
- Dark berries. Blueberries, blackberries and dark red cherries are high in antioxidants and high in flavonoids, which are known for their memory boosting properties. Summer is the perfect time to pick up fresh varieties of these sweet but tart berry varieties. In the winter, opt for frozen or dried versions (without added sugars), which still hold much of the nutritional value as their fresh counterparts.
- Beans. High in fiber and protein, these low-calorie and low-fat foods are also good for your brain. In fact, studies show that eating beans three times per week may help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
- Fatty fish. Omega-3 is best known for it’s anti-inflammatory and heart healthy properties. But this essential fatty acid commonly found in fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel have also been shown to reduce the buildup of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain known for causing Alzheimer’s disease.
Helping Seniors Feed Their Body and Mind at Symphony Senior Living
A healthy diet is key to healthy aging. At Symphony Senior Living, we ensure every resident has access to the amenities and programs they need to keep their body healthy and their mind sharp. Our healthy dining options are developed with the nutritional needs of seniors in mind, so they can stay active and independent as they age. Contact us today to learn more about our living options and services or to schedule a tour.