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How Diet Affects the Senior Brain

By Dian Brannen, 11:28 pm on

Most seniors know the importance of eating a healthy, well-balanced diet in their golden years. Yet, adhering to a healthy diet isn’t just for maintaining a normal weight. Eating certain foods can preserve short and long-term memory, and protect the brain against cognitive conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Today, the Lehigh Valley Alzheimer’s care specialists from Home Care Assistance share information about eating for brain health.

The Best Foods for Brain Health

When it comes to brain health, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables, while also low in fat. Plant-based foods, in particular, are not only low in calories, but they also contain antioxidants that can decrease cellular damage within the brain. The following plant-based foods have been found particularly beneficial for brain health:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Red bell peppers
  • Eggplant

Whole grains, such as wheat bread and brown rice, have been shown to increase cardiovascular health, providing the body’s key organs, including the brain, with good blood flow, thus promoting overall brain function.

Choosing the Right Fats

To ward off high cholesterol and high-blood pressure, your loved one may already be limiting his or her intake of saturated fats. Saturated fats, derived from animal products, can have negative effects on the brain over time. Doctors and geriatric care specialists often recommend poultry over red meat. Even better, caregivers can prepare fish for their loved ones a few times a week so they can gain brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The best catches are:

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Sardines
  • Herring

When to Supplement

Supplements are generally only necessary in older adults who don’t get a wide range of nutrients. However, changes in your loved one’s appetite or tastes can make it more likely for him or her to miss foods that provide key nutrients to the body and brain. Have your loved one discuss the following nutrients, known to protect brain health, with his or her doctor:

  • Folate
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E

For more information about senior nutrition or memory care for older adults, don’t hesitate to contact a Care Manager from Home Care Assistance of the Lehigh Valley. Our Lehigh Valley home care agency is trusted by families in the community for our high caliber care services, trained caregivers, and flexible hourly and live-in care schedules. Call us at 484-350-3874 and request your complimentary, no-obligation consultation.