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Healthy Aging | 06/17/21
Watching what you eat is sage advice at any age, but sticking to a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet may have benefits beyond your physical health as you advance into your senior years. In fact, some research shows that some essential nutrients for seniors actually play a role in your cognitive function.
Not only does the brain consume a lot of calories, it needs certain nutrients for better health. This list of the best brain foods for senior memory and brain health will help you nourish your body and your mind.
If you’re wondering what nutrient is important for brain health function, some of the most prominent essential nutrients for seniors are omega-3 fatty acids. This is because omega-3s are known to build and repair brain cells, while also playing a role in reducing inflammation and stress that researchers believe are linked to neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
Fish, especially oily selections like salmon, mackerel, and tuna, are good sources of omega-3s, but you can also find omega-3s in numerous nuts, seeds, and soybeans, as well as fortified foods and supplements.
One thing you might not hear as often as you do about all the omega-3 benefits: too much can actually be harmful, especially if you take certain medications, so be sure to talk with your doctor about the optimal amount for your brain health.
B vitamins stand out among vitamins that are good for memory and concentration because they help regulate your nervous system, which in turn affects your memory and focus. Some B vitamins, including B-12 and folate, absorb better in supplement form, but green veggies like broccoli and spinach are also good sources, along with meat, seafood, poultry, dairy, and eggs.
Research shows that in some cases, combinations of certain vitamins may be more effective at preventing cognitive decline than consuming the vitamins on their own. One study found the combination of vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotene particularly effective at delaying cognitive decline.
Vitamin C is commonly found in citrus fruits, as well as bell peppers, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, potatoes, and tomatoes. Orange produce tends to be rich in carotene, so look for carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and apricots, to name a few. Look for vitamin E in seeds and nuts; sunflower seeds, almonds, and hazelnuts are all good choices. You can also find vitamin E in avocado, pumpkin, asparagus, and mango.
When it comes to knowing what vegetables are good for brain health, there are several. That’s because vegetables tend to contain a high level of antioxidants that prevent cellular damage, which can lead to some forms of dementia and memory loss. In addition to the vitamin-rich veggies mentioned above, leafy green veggies like kale and collard greens are good choices when you’re trying to eat more nutrients for better memory. In addition, plant-based oils like canola or soybean oil contain omega-3s, making them all-around good choices to support brain health.
Like veggies, many fruits are thought to contain nutrients that factor into how to keep your brain healthy. Antioxidant-rich fruits, including most berries, may help reduce inflammation and stress, similar to omega-3s. (Bonus: Cacao, found in dark chocolate, contains a type of antioxidant known as flavonoids that improve blood flow and promote blood vessel growth—both good things for brain health. Sounds like a big green light for berries dipped in dark chocolate!)
At The Moorings at Lewes Life Plan Community, you’ll find an assortment of dining venues for casual and formal dining where you can always count on three meals filled with essential nutrients for seniors every day. Contact us to learn more about the engaging lifestyle that supports your body, mind, and spirit, as well as the living options you can find at this continuing care retirement community. Better yet, schedule a visit to begin envisioning yourself at home near the shore.