Good nutrition is important at any age, but it's especially helpful for preserving cognitive function as you get older. At Autumn View Gardens in St. Louis, Missouri, we strive to help residents get all the nutrients they need without sacrificing their favorite foods. To keep your mind sharp, incorporate these six nutritious foods into your diet.
Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, substances that can prevent cell damage caused by unstable atoms. In a study led by a researcher from the National Institute of Aging, participants with higher levels of antioxidant consumption demonstrated better immediate recall, verbal memory and language fluency. The antioxidants found in blueberries may even strengthen the connections between brain cells, helping you maintain your cognitive function as you age. Get more blueberries in your diet by eating a handful of berries as a snack, adding them to low-fat yogurt or enjoying a low-calorie fruit salad as a summer side dish.
Broccoli contains phytochemicals, which are compounds found only in plants. These compounds are responsible for the taste and color of all your favorite vegetables, from the spicy taste of certain peppers to the deep purple color of an eggplant. Phytochemicals are also found in nuts, legumes and grains.
Polyphenols are one of the most important groups of phytochemicals, as they interfere with certain reactions that break down lipids and other substances in the human body. Flavonoids are another type of phytochemical found in broccoli. These compounds have been shown to reduce the risk for dementia, improve cognitive function and decrease the risk of cognitive decline. Broccoli is loaded with both types of chemicals, making it a nutritious addition to your diet. Increase your broccoli consumption by snacking on raw broccoli crowns, roasting broccoli and serving it as a side dish or adding broccoli to your salads.
If you love salmon, you'll be happy to know that it has several nutritional benefits, including the potential to reduce your risk of cognitive decline. Salmon and other fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are a major component of the cells in the nervous system. Some omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation, improve the function of nerve cells, interfere with chemical reactions that can cause cell damage and prevent cell death, making them an important contributor to your cognitive function. Incorporate this flavorful food into your diet by trying grilled salmon fillets or baking it with your favorite herbs and seasonings.
Turmeric is often hailed as a superfood because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Also known as curcumin, turmeric is an herb that has shown promise in controlling some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. The compounds in turmeric may slow down the degradation of nerve cells, reduce inflammation in the brain and reduce the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques, which are proteins that build up between the brain cells in people with Alzheimer's disease. All of these potential benefits make turmeric one of the best ingredients for preserving your cognitive function. You can get more of this food in your diet by adding it to a green smoothie or using it to add flavor to your favorite meats and fish.
Not only does coffee taste great, but it also contains antioxidants that can help you combat cognitive decline as you get older. The compounds found in coffee have been linked to a reduced risk of dementia, Alzheimer's disease and general cognitive decline, especially for people who drink several cups of coffee per day. In one study, coffee drinkers who consumed three to five cups per day had a much lower risk of Alzheimer's disease and late-life dementia when compared with people who didn't drink coffee. If you don't enjoy drinking coffee, you can still increase your coffee consumption by adding a small amount of coffee grounds to a smoothie or incorporating coffee into one of your favorite chocolate desserts.
Nuts also contain high levels of antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation in the nerve cells and prevent cell damage caused by free radicals. They also contain compounds that can help you maintain the health of your blood vessels, which is also helpful for preserving cognitive function. When blood flow to the brain is reduced, the brain cells don't get the oxygen and nutrients they need to function properly, impairing brain function and making it more likely that you'll develop dementia or some other type of cognitive decline when you get older. Eating nuts can help you keep the vertebral arteries and carotid arteries healthy, ensuring that the right amount of blood reaches your brain. Increase your nut consumption by adding almonds to a salad, eating a handful of cashews as a snack or grinding up nuts and using them as a coating for your favorite poultry dish.
Residents of Bethesda Senior Living Communities have access to restaurant-style dining seven days per week, making it easy to get a balanced diet that's full of flavor. To learn more about our community in St. Louis, Missouri, schedule a visit today.