Eat This: Memory Care Foods for Seniors
Throughout our lives, we view food from a wide array of roles, from comfort and celebration to rewards. Food can even be a source of anxiety for some, including seniors. To maximize physical and mental health, seniors need to understand how food relates to their overall health. Food is there to provide our bodies with the nutrients needed for every system to work well.
Each type of food has its own role in senior health and wellness. Fiber, for example, keeps the digestive tracts moving. Calcium is there to keep our frame, the bones, strong. On top of the physical aspect of powering your body, certain foods provide assistance in brain health and overall senior memory function.
You may think it’s too late to start a better diet, but it’s not. Keep reading to find out what foods you should be paying attention to and why changing your diet at any age can make a difference.
Foods to Power Your Brain
When a majority of your brain makeup is based on fats, including one-third omega-3 fatty acids, introducing healthy fats into your senior diet is important. Fatty acids help the brain build the neuropathways that keep the memory system sharp, and omega-3s can help ward off Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s diseases. They also are important for decreasing mental decline in seniors. Sufficient omega-3 levels also have a positive relationship with improved cognitive abilities, according to a 2017 study.
Foods for senior memory and brain development:
- Salmon, Herring, Tuna, Mackerel, and other oily fish have a higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Chia seeds, flax seeds, soybeans, and walnuts are a good, non-seafood option for omega-3s.
- Avocados help support senior brain health through the unsaturated fats present in their flesh.
Antioxidants vs. Memory Health in Seniors
Inflammation in the body is more than feeling puffy from eating salty foods. Excessive inflammation has been shown to have a damaging effect on the body, and a lot of processed foods have ingredients known to cause inflammation in the body. This is why fresh foods, antioxidant-rich foods, and superfoods have become popular in health circles.
Inflammation tends to be higher as we age, including in seniors. Memory decline and slower cognitive processing have been shown to be a result of these higher levels of inflammation. When seniors experience cognitive decline, they often have a higher risk of withdrawing socially, developing depression, and other physical effects that snowball from it.
Foods rich in antioxidants help lower inflammation markers in seniors and can result in improved memory for seniors.
Focus on The Antioxidant-Rich Foods for Seniors:
- Examples: Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, Kale, Cabbage, and Turnips
- Vitamin E:
- Whole-grains like brown rice, oatmeal, whole-grain bread
- Nuts and Seeds including sunflower seeds, almonds, and hazelnuts
- Spices and Herbs:
- Turmeric (Curcumin), Sage, Rosemary, Oregano, Cinnamon
- Folic Acid, B-12, and B-6:
- Example: Eggs, which are high in all three and can help prevent brain shrinkage
- Berries: Blackcurrants, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries
- Chocolate: 70% dark chocolate or higher
Start Eating Right Now
Why start eating better when you’re in retirement? Seniors who practice a holistic lifestyle, including a healthier diet, are often active for longer in retirement. In addition to foods, regular physical activity can help with mobility and social interaction can help improve your mood as a senior.
Studies have shown an 80 percent decrease in death when someone makes positive lifestyle changes and kept up with them, with the study group spanning the 40 years between 44-year-olds and 84-year-olds. In addition, experts have noted only minimal differences between a young adult’s brain and that of someone in their nineties.
Eating right, and incorporating foods good for mental health, can make a difference at any age.
Start Living Your Best Retirement Life
Switch up the foods you’re eating with better alternatives. It can help you feel healthier, more alert, and help prevent senior memory decline. After all, you want to enjoy your retirement, why not do what you can to have a better quality of life?
Active senior living communities provide a life with opportunities – new friends, great foods, more free time, hobbies to learn, and lectures to attend. Leave the stress of maintaining a home while juggling healthcare behind when luxury retirement communities handle the details for you.
In addition, you can enjoy gourmet food that is healthy for seniors like you, without sacrificing the taste. Discover new friends at one of the many social events planned each week, or even in a physical fitness class. Caregivers are even available onsite if you need additional assistance with daily activities.
Visit LivGenerations Pinnacle Peak, located in beautiful North Scottsdale, for a personal tour. You’ll see just how it is to liv meaningfully in retirement.