August 3, 2017

senior nutritionHow does the food we eat affect our brain function? According to the Alzheimer’s Association, a diet rich in heart-healthy foods can make a large impact on senior health, preventing heart conditions while also boosting one’s memory and cognitive function. To potentially slow the effects of age-related memory impairment, try incorporating some of these heart-healthy “superfoods” into your daily diet.

Get a boost with blueberries

Blueberries are one fruit that tastes great and offers a variety of senior health benefits. Research has found that the antioxidants found in blueberries can protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related memory conditions. Try adding fresh or frozen blueberries to cereal, yogurt, or smoothies to incorporate them into your diet.

Eat more fresh fish

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are essential for brain function and are naturally found in deep-water fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines. Along with supporting memory health and brain function, omega-3s also have anti-inflammatory properties, giving your immune system a boost. For those who don’t eat fish, some other foods rich in omega-3s include pumpkin, chia, and flax seeds. 

Fill up with quinoa

Quinoa is a tiny grain-like seed that’s packed with folic acid, a type of B vitamin that promotes brain health and production of new cells. Quinoa is also gluten-free and full of protein and fiber. Add cooked quinoa to oats, salads, yogurt, or in casserole dishes as a substitute for rice.

Snack on Walnuts

As a well-known heart-healthy food, walnuts can also help improve cognitive function and memory in seniors. With vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, antioxidants, and protein, a handful of chopped walnuts make a great snack to satisfy midday hunger.

Toss in Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant, lycopene, which can help protect the brain from free radical damage to cells. They also contain vitamin C and biotin, which promotes healthy skin, hair, and nails. You can enjoy the benefits of tomatoes by drinking tomato juice or tossing cherry tomatoes on salads.

 

Remember, before starting any new diet, be sure to consult your doctor to establish a plan that is right for you. For many seniors living alone, access to healthy, fresh food can be difficult due to limited mobility or illness. In a retirement community, however, seniors have access to nutritious meals prepared each day and can enjoy eating in the company of friends. If you are concerned about the nutrition of seniors in your life, it may be time to start researching retirement living options to find a community that fits their needs.