As we get older, many of us start seeking out ways of getting our brains into better shape and staving off age-related cognitive issues. We all know that our diet has an enormous effect on our overall health, but most of us think about this relationship in mostly physical terms. However, there’s a compelling and growing body of evidence indicating that our diet has a more profound impact on our health than we had perhaps realized. While eating a brain-healthy diet isn’t a replacement for medical treatment, it could be a cornerstone of a lifestyle oriented toward preventing or delaying cognitive problems as you age. Here are some recommendations collected from the National Institutes of Health, Harvard Medical School, and AARP:
Green, leafy vegetables are essential to many beneficial diets. Spinach, collards, broccoli, kale, arugula, and other green veggies are rich in nutrients such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin K, and folat, and there’s evidence that they’re specifically good for the brain. According to a study published in the journal Neurology in 2018, eating about a cup of green, leafy vegetables daily “may help to slow cognitive decline with aging.”
Salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and other deep-sea, oily fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, healthy unsaturated fats that are vital to brain function. They’ve even been linked to lower levels of beta-amyloid, a protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Other omega-3 sources
If fish isn’t your thing, avocados, flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, and soybeans are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. You can also ask your doctor about omega-3 supplements or cod liver oil.
The antioxidants contained in berries (blueberries in particular) may reduce one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Furthermore, the natural plant pigments that make berries so colorful (flavonoids) have been shown to positively correlate with improved memory.
Coffee & tea
We all know that the caffeine contained in coffee and tea can help with short-term energy, focus, and wakefulness, but a 2014 paper published in The Journal of Nutrition suggests that caffeine may help people solidify memories.
Nuts & seeds
Nuts and seeds are great snack choices for your general health, but they may specifically help keep your brain healthy. Many of them are high in vitamin E, and higher vitamin E levels correlate with lower rates of mind-related decline as people age. Furthermore, a 2015 UCLA study found a link between eating more walnuts and improved cognitive test scores.
The above foods are just a few of the items that may help keep your brain healthy. Vigilance, medical care, and keeping your mind active are also important, and at Village Park Senior Living, our residents have access to many health, wellness, and social activities. If you’re interested in learning more about assisted living, independent living, memory care, or any of the many programs & activities we offer, please contact Village Park Senior Living for more information. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for updates and to check back often for new blogs.