Nutrition is one of the most important things in our lives. We all want to live a health life, well into our senior years, and to stay in great health as our retirement age approaches. Not all of us have healthy eating habits during our younger years. Younger adults tend to go out much more than older people, eat more “junk food” and generally not worry about healthy eating as much as the older generation. After all, their metabolism is usually fast enough to allow for more than 1 “cheat meal” during the week. However, for older people, it is extremely important to get proper nutrition not only to prevent muscle loss that happens as people get older, but also to prevent memory decline.
The brain is a body part that needs specific type of food to function correctly. It needs good fats, vegetables, lean proteins, fruits and foods that give it enough minerals and vitamins. In this list, we have gathered some of the best foods that seniors need to eat, as well as those they need to stay away from, to give their mind the best chance to stay as healthy as possible:
Here are the top food categories that people should eat as they get older to improve their memory and lower the chances of memory decline:
– Green vegetables. Vegetables are high in minerals and nutrients that are essential to your body. Vegetables such as kale, spinach, collards and others also help keep seniors’ mental abilities sharp, according to a study done by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)
– Wild salmon and other fish that is high in Omega-3 fat. Most people probably know by now that foods that are high in Omega-3’s are great for your body, and especially for your brain. Eating fish several times a week will help seniors with their cognitive decline.
– Chocolate. Go on – eat as much as you want. According to a study by Scott A. Small, a neurobiologist at Columbia University Medical Center, dark chocolate, which contains dietary cocoa flavanols can improve memory by an astonishing 25%. The secret? You’d have to eat 7 bars a day to see such drastic benefits.
According to Senior Guidance, there are more than 40,000 assisted living facilities in the U.S., many of which are memory care facilities for people with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. We cannot stress enough how important it is to have proper nutrition to lessen your chances of getting Alzheimer’s or Dementia during your senior years.
Here are the foods that seniors (and young adults too) should stay away from, as they can cause not only obesity, but memory decline too:
– White bread and products made from white flour. Needless to say, white flour isn’t healthy. It is even more unhealthy during your senior years. Foods like white rice, cakes, bread made from white flour and pasta products cause a spike in insulin, which in return sends not vitamins but toxins to the brain.
– Processed meats. It’s easy to go to the deli and get a turkey or ham sandwich, but that doesn’t mean that you should do it. Processed meats such as turkey and ham (as well as bacon), contain substances called nitrosamines, that induce the person’s liver to create fats that are very bad for the brain. Nitrosamines are also carcinogenic.
– Processed cheeses. While cheese is great and has plenty of benefits such as high amount of calcium and a healthy amount of protein, processed cheeses such as American cheese increase specific proteins in the body that have been known to cause Alzheimer’s disease because similarly to processed meats, they also contain nitrosamines.