A recent study by the MacArthur Foundation found that our lifestyle, including our diet, determines 70% of how we age. Memory loss and being at a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease or dementia are of great concern for many seniors. While some diseases that affect the brain can’t be cured, there are some superfoods that are best for optimizing senior Brain Power.
Eating a diet rich in “brain food” is one way to promote brain health for seniors. These foods have been proven to be memory boosters and slow cognitive decline in older adults.
Here are seven superfoods for optimal senior brainpower:
Berries appear to be good for aging brains. They contain potent antioxidants that may improve motor skills and short-term memory. A Tufts University study looked at 20 years of eating by 2,800 people age 50 or older and found that those with a low intake of flavonoid-rich foods like berries, apples, and tea were two to four times more likely to develop dementia.
2. Dark-green leafy vegetables
In addition to being good for brain power, kale, arugula, broccoli, and spinach, which are high in fiber, appear to boost muscle function and are heart-healthy. A recent study from Denmark of 50,000 people over 23 years found that those who ate these veggies had lower incidences of memory loss and heart disease.
Fish such as salmon, cod, tuna, and trout are lean sources of protein, which older people need to maintain or regain muscle. Fish is also a good source of vitamin B12, a nutrient found only in animal foods that we have a harder time absorbing as we age. In addition, seafood has omega-3 fatty acids, which help promote brain function. Nutritionists recommend two to three servings a week.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that may help to protect neurons or nerve cells. Eating foods rich in vitamin E, such as avocado, support good brain health and may even fight against the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are another great source of vitamin E, and they are easy to enjoy. Moreover, they can be used to add a little crunch to the salad or mixed into the trail mix. The best of all is you can enjoy them as snacks as well.
Research has shown that eating 1 cup of blueberries each day can benefit brain health. Blueberries are also high in vitamin C and fiber, making them a great addition to any healthy diet.
Technically, water may not qualify as food, but seniors need to pay more attention to hydration as they age. According to the Journal of Biological Chemistry, 73% of water is required in the composition of the brain and heart. Water lubricates the body and brain, and a lack of hydration can affect our bodies and minds.
In addition to helping with meal preparation, the carefully screened, trustworthy caregivers from Home Instead of Southwest Florida assist with many household tasks, such as laundry and ironing, light housekeeping, assisting with pet care, taking out the trash, organizing and cleaning closets, and making beds and changing linens.
If your loved one needs some assistance to live happily and independently in their home, then contact us. We offer free consultation and will be happy to tell you about our caregiver services for seniors.