Brain Food – Brain Boosting Foods for Seniors w/Recipe
There is no doubt that a healthy diet contributes to a healthy body, but eating nutritious foods can also lower the risk of cognitive decline as we age. Recent research has found that elderly people who consumed the most nutritious food lowered their risk of cognitive decline by almost 25 percent, when compared to those with the least healthy diets.
Researchers believe that it is likely that a healthy diet has effects on cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular disease, and that this is an important mechanism for reducing the risk of cognitive decline.
So what foods make up a healthy “brain boosting” diet? Below is a list of some the top brain power foods. Incorporating these foods into your diet can improve mental health, especially for seniors who want to protect themselves from cognitive decline.
Studies show that substituting salmon for beef or poultry a couple times per week can slow mental decline. Salmon, and other cold-water fish such as tuna, sardines and halibut, contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Research suggests that omega-3s may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and have a positive effect on gradual memory loss linked to aging.
Walnuts are rich in vitamin E, which works to trap free radicals that can damage brain cells, according to the Alzheimer’s Research Center. A recent study found that people who eat food with high levels of vitamin E had a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Green tea contains enzymes, amino acids and vitamins that can help improve metal fatigue and boost brain function. It also contains a plant compound called EGCG, which may reduce inflammation, aid weight loss, and help prevent heart and brain disease.
Egg yolks are rich in choline, a nutrient that the brain uses to make a neurotransmitter that may be vital to maintain memory and communication among brain cells. A study by researchers at Boston University found that choline intake was associated with better performance on memory tests.
Animal studies have shown that blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of dementia. A study by Tufts University and the USDA found that a diet rich in blueberries improved short term memory loss and reversed some loss of balance and coordination in aging rats.
Avocados are packed with monounsaturated fat, which contribute to healthy blood flow. Avocados also lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
Spinach is an excellent source of folic acid, and studies have shown that eating spinach helps prevent dementia. Spinach and other cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and dark, leafy greens can help improve memory.
Baked Oatmeal with Banana, Raisins and Walnuts
• 2 cups rolled oats
• 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
• 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
• 2 cups reduced-fat milk
• ¾ cup low-fat plain yogurt
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 large banana, halved lengthwise and sliced
• 1/3 cup raisins
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Mix oats, walnuts, cinnamon, baking powder, salt allspice in a large bowl.
3. Combine milk, yogurt, oil, brown sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl.
4. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients; stir until completely incorporated.
5. Stir in bananas and raisins. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish
6. Bake until golden on top and firm to the touch, 45 to 50 minutes.
7. Serve with a side of fresh fruit.
Total Time: Prep: 15 minutes.
Cook: 45-50 minutes.
Yield: About 6 servings.
Recipe & photo from EatingWell.com