The 5 Best Brain Foods to Keep Your Brain Healthy
To support the health of your brain, you need to give it the proper nutrients and stimulation. It’s been proven that lifestyle and daily habits have a tremendous impact on senior health. So don’t increase your risk of cognitive decline. Stay active, stop unhealthy behavior such as smoking, and adopt healthy eating habits to nourish your brain.
Brain Food: What to Eat
Healthy diets make healthy brains. And the healthiest diet of them all may be the Mediterranean diet. Not pizza and pasta, but a lifestyle of eating that’s traditional to countries such as Spain, Italy and France. It’s reported to lower cholesterol levels, help control blood sugar and reduce inflammation — all of which are risk factors for cardiovascular and cognitive decline. With the Mediterranean diet, brain-healthy foods such as fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds form the bulk of daily meals. Very little red meat is consumed, and dairy, fish, eggs, and poultry are eaten in moderation.
Another brain-boosting diet is the ketogenic diet. An example of this is the Atkins® diet, which became popular in the late 1990s. It’s low in carbohydrates, with very few sugars and starches but lots of healthy fat. Eating this way causes our body to burn fat by converting it to ketones, hence the name. A study by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found diets such as these that reduce the consumption of carbohydrates are beneficial for people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. However, these types of diets may not be suitable for seniors with cardiovascular disease. Be sure to check with a physician before starting any type of new diet plan.
5 Best Brain Foods for Seniors
Here are 5 brain foods to include as part of a healthy lifestyle.
We’ve all been told, “Eat fish, it’s good for your brain.” Fish is known as a good brain food, and cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines are among the best choices. These fish contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, essential chemicals your brain needs to function. Eating these types of fish at least twice a week raises the level of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood, helping the brain operate more efficiently.
Tea was once a rare ingredient, used for medicine in ancient times. Of course, it’s now widely available around the world, and we can all benefit from its medicinal effects. A daily cup of tea — made from tea leaves — supports brain health, protecting it from damage and degeneration. Tea leaves contain compounds and antioxidants beneficial to controlling inflammation and toxicity in the body. According to a study from Singapore, drinking green or black tea lowered the risk of cognitive decline by about 50%, and for seniors with genetic markers for Alzheimer’s disease, it can reduce the risk by as much as 86%.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, inflammation is the single greatest marker of aging and seen at the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Eating a handful of unsalted nuts every day can reduce our body’s inflammation because of the healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals they contain. Serendipitously, the brain-shaped walnut is among the top brain foods for seniors. It contains high levels of essential fatty acids and Vitamin E, which removes toxic proteins and repairs tissue damage.
- Egg Yolk
It’s become fashionable to only eat egg whites, but throwing away the egg yolk wastes one of the most valuable brain foods in nature. A vitamin-like nutrient called choline, present in egg yolks, is used by our body to build and maintain our cells. It helps produce neurotransmitters (the chemicals that allow brain cells to communicate) that support brain and memory function. Apart from eggs, other sources of choline include dairy, fruits, and organ meats such as liver.
Antioxidant-packed blueberries are one of the most popular brain foods for seniors. Eating blueberries has been shown to improve memory and cognitive function, and potentially prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Several studies back this up, including MRI imaging showing a difference in learning and memory as people ate blueberries. A daily serving of blueberries can delay cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years. Foods of the same color are also good brain foods: red cabbage, pomegranates and grape juice.
The Very Best Ingredient
Sometimes the best ingredients for a happy, healthy brain have nothing to do with food: Sitting down to a beautifully prepared and presented meal amid elegant surroundings. Feeling the ocean breeze at the outdoor firepit. Socializing with friends and family and making new memories. With three different dining venues to choose from at Westminster-Canterbury, we nourish heart and soul, as well as body and brain. Be our guest and discover the delicious, nutritious cuisine we prepare for every taste, every day. Contact us today to learn more.