Good and Bad Foods for Seniors' Brain HealthWhen people reach their golden years, their bodies are not what they used to be, and neither are their brains. Seniors’ brains can shrink in certain places as they age, and this will cause neuron communication to decrease. Physical and cognitive decline is natural with age, but you can limit such a decline.

By following a healthy diet, seniors can maintain their brain health and boost their cognitive functions. Healthy eating is important for everyone regardless of age, but it is especially imperative for seniors because of their age and increased potential for cognitive decline.

Food provides the necessary nutrients and energy people need to function daily, and good foods will be the most beneficial for these functions. If seniors do not eat well, the foods they consume can hinder their brain functions. Knowing this, it is important that elderly individuals follow a diet with brain boosting foods while avoiding bad foods.

If you are concerned about an elderly loved one and their brain health, then continue reading to learn more about which foods they should consume more of and which foods they should avoid.

Best Foods for Brain Health

Avocados

In general, fats are viewed negatively, but not all fats are bad. Avocados contain a healthy type of fat, monounsaturated fat. This fat improves cognitive functions, making it excellent to consume if you wish to boost your brain health. If weight gain is a concern, then consume only one to two servings up to four times a week.

Other benefits of avocados include folate and vitamins B, C, and K. Folate and vitamin K are known to prevent blood clotting in the brain and lessen stroke risks. Meanwhile, vitamins B and C provide brain protection against oxidative stress.

Broccoli

Broccoli is one of the best vegetables to eat because of its numerous benefits. The vegetable contains the fat-soluble vitamin K. Your body uses this vitamin to form sphingolipids, which is a fat found in brain cells. Just one serving of broccoli provides more than enough of your daily vitamin K dose.

Coffee

Many people begin their day with a cup of coffee, which has brain benefits. Coffee contains antioxidants and caffeine. Its caffeine content can improve concentration and awareness as well as mood. Furthermore, coffee consumption over an extended amount of time has been known to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is among the best brain boosting foods because of its high protein, low sugar content. The yogurt provides seniors with the protein they need to preserve muscle mass, which naturally decreases with age.

Cold-Water Fish

Cold-water fish is another food that contains good fats, more specifically omega-3 fatty acids. These fats prevent brain shrinkage and a decline in brain function. Cold-water fish like tuna and salmon have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA, in particular, aids in efficient brain function.

Walnuts

Walnuts are a type of nut that contains various nutrients: omega-3 fats, copper, manganese, and biotin. They are also a great source of vitamin E, which traps free radicals that cause severe brain cellular damage.

Research has also shown that individuals who consume more vitamin E-rich foods are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.

Bad Foods for Brain Health

Alcohol

In moderation, alcohol is fine. However, consuming too much alcohol can cause severe brain damage. Among the damage alcohol can cause includes neurotransmitter disruption, brain volume reduction, and metabolic changes.

Aspartame

The dangers of sugar are well known, which is why some people opt for artificial sweeteners as an alternative. However, they are not always good to use. One example of such a sweetener is aspartame.

Some research suggests that aspartame has links to cognitive and behavioral issues. The sugar substitute can make the brain more vulnerable to oxidative stress and it contains phenylalanine, which can cause the neurotransmitter production process to be disrupted.

Processed Foods

Many processed foods, such as microwave popcorn and potato chips, contain high amounts of salt, sugar, and added fats. What makes these bad foods for brain health is their lack of nutrients and high caloric levels. These kinds of foods are ones that easily cause weight gain and increased visceral fat. Visceral fat has been associated with brain tissue damage, which is why people need to be cautious about their processed food intake.

Refined Carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates can be harmful because they can cause insulin and blood sugar levels to spike. They have a high glycemic load, which has been known to cause memory impairments and hinder cognitive functions.

Trans Fats

When you think of bad fats, trans fats are likely the kind of fat you are thinking of. There are trans fats that are naturally found in dairy, meat, and other natural products. These trans fats are not too concerning. However, the type of trans fats called hydrogenated oils are an issue.

Hydrogenated oils are artificial and industrially produced. They are often found in foods like prepackaged cookies, prepackaged snack cakes, frostings, and margarine among others.

Some research suggests higher consumption of trans fats increases the likelihood for smaller brain volume, cognitive decline, memory issues, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Dementia Care Services

With this aforementioned information, you can help your elderly loved one get the best foods for their brain health. These foods, however, do not prevent brain concerns, such as dementia; they simply help maintain and improve brain health. Seniors who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can consume these foods to help improve their cognitive abilities.

If you have an elderly loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, then consider hiring in-home dementia care services. Assisting Hands Home Care provides Alzheimer’s and dementia care services for seniors in Plainfield, IL, and the neighboring areas. Within these services, our caregivers will assist with meal preparation, personal care, companionship, medication reminders, and more. We will provide the care and assistance your loved one needs to comfortably and safely live at home.

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