Over time, you may notice diet plays an increasingly important role in your overall health and wellness. The foods you consume can affect everything from your waistline to your energy levels. More importantly, they can affect your memory and brain health. Here’s how nutrition needs change with age, along with a few ways seniors can use food to boost their memory.
How Nutritional Needs Change with Age
Dietary needs can change with age in many ways, and seniors often:
- Require more nutrient-dense foods than high-calorie foods
- Have a slower metabolism, meaning they require less food
- Need naturally high-fiber foods to support bowel health
- Limit sodium intake to maintain a normal blood pressure
- Drink more water to stay hydrated
Now that you know some of the ways dietary needs change with age, here are a few tips for eating a brain-boosting diet.
4 Food Groups That Boost Memory
- Fatty fish
Fatty fish, like salmon and albacore tuna, contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are a building block of the brain. Omega-3s are linked to several brain benefits, including improved memory, mood, and protection against cognitive decline. Try to eat fish 2 times per week or consult with your doctor about taking an omega-3 supplement.
Berries may benefit the brain in several ways. First, they contain flavonoids. In addition to giving these fruits color, they have been shown to improve memory. Berries also contain antioxidants, which may improve memory and delay brain aging. Excellent options include blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.
- Green, leafy vegetables
Leafy vegetables, like kale, spinach, broccoli, and collards, may also help slow cognitive decline. They are often full of brain-boosting vitamins, including vitamin K, folate, lutein, and beta-carotene.
Nuts, particularly walnuts, contain healthy fats and proteins. Walnuts contain alpha-lipoic acid. This is a type of omega-3 fatty acid that helps lower blood pressure and protect arteries, which benefits the brain. Many nuts also include vitamin E, antioxidants, and plant compounds, all of which support brain health.
Considering the Blue Zone Diet
When exploring diets that benefit the brain, you may want to look into the Blue Zones Food Guidelines. These 11 guidelines were derived from the diets of the world’s longest-lived people. The Blue Zones Food Guidelines are mostly plant-based and emphasize eating plenty of leafy greens and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Only about 5 percent of the diet includes animal products. The diet also insists on minimizing sugar, snacking on nuts, and sticking to sour or whole wheat bread.
Speak with a Medical Professional
It’s common for people to notice changes in their memory as they age. Some have a harder time recalling information such as names, dates, and times. Others describe themselves as more forgetful. Minor changes in your memory are normal, but significant changes are not. If you have a noticeable decrease in your thinking skills, there may be an underlying cause, such as medications or a medical condition. It’s best to speak with a health care provider about your symptoms.
Heritage Senior Communities Supports a Healthy Diet
At Heritage Senior Communities, we know how important it is for older adults to eat a nutritious diet. That’s why we prepare meals with senior bodies in mind. To learn about how we keep seniors healthy or to learn about our memory care program, contact us today to schedule a private tour.