Preserving Your Memories: Nutrition and Brain Health

Posted on August 01, 2020

Silver Comet - August 1 Blog

How we feed and fuel our bodies is directly related to our overall health and wellness. Nutrition affects all of the functions within our bodies, influencing our daily lives, and certain foods and nutrients help to fuel different functions and parts of the body.

Did you know that some foods contain essential nutrients for brain health and can improve your memory and cognitive functioning? In fact, nutrition and brain health go hand-in-hand.

At Silver Comet Village, a senior living community in Powder Springs, Georgia, we cherish the experiences and memories that are made with friends, family, and other members of the community. Memories are priceless, so we are sharing nutrition tips and foods for brain health, to help individuals preserve their precious memories.

Leafy Green Vegetables

Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, collards, and broccoli are great for brain health. These foods contain nutrients that are great for the brain, such as vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene. Additionally, leafy green vegetables contain glucosinolates, which the body breaks down to produce isothiocyanates. Medical News Today states, “isothiocyanates may reduce oxidative stress and lower the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.”

According to Harvard Health Publishing, “research suggests these plant-based foods may help slow cognitive decline.”

Fatty Fish

Omega-3s are an essential part of nutrition and brain health. Fish, including salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, cod, and pollock, contain high amounts of omega-3s, making fish a great addition to your brain-healthy diet! Because omega-3s build membranes around cells in the body, they can actually improve the structure of cells in the brain, otherwise known as neurons. Furthermore, omega-3s increase blood flow to the brain and lead to better cognitive functioning.

Berries

Have you ever wondered what gives berries their coloring? The answer is flavonoid antioxidants. These natural pigments, when consumed through berries, also help to improve and preserve memory. In fact, Harvard Health Publishing reported that “…researchers at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that women who consumed two or more servings of strawberries and blueberries each week delayed memory decline by up to two-and-a-half years.”

The antioxidants found in berries have other brain health benefits, including:

  • Improving communication between brain cells
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Increasing plasticity, which helps brain cells form new connections, boosting learning and memory
  • Reducing or delaying age-related neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are great for nutrition and brain health. Much like fish, nuts and seeds contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts and seeds, including sunflower seeds, almonds, and hazelnuts, are packed with vitamin E, which protects brain cells from oxidative stress, contributes to improved cognition, and reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Walnuts, in particular, may aid in improved memory functioning. “A 2015 study from UCLA linked higher walnut consumption to improved cognitive test scores,” according to Harvard Health Publishing.

Whole Grains

The American Brain Society states, “a diet packed with whole grain-rich foods promotes cardiovascular health, which flows to the brain.” Additionally, whole grains are another excellent source of vitamin E, and as mentioned above, are an essential nutrient to brain health.

Whole-grain foods include:

  • Brown rice
  • Barley
  • Bulgar wheat
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole-grain bread
  • Whole-grain pasta

Dark Chocolate

Who said nutrition and brain health couldn’t be sweet? If you have a sweet tooth, you are in luck. Dark chocolate, which is at least 70% cacao, has many benefits to brain health. As with berries, dark chocolate contains flavonoid antioxidants that “improve blood flow to the brain and reduce inflammation.”

Research has shown that dark chocolate provides additional benefits to brain health, including:

  • Fight fatigue and the effects of aging, thus boosting mood, focus, and alertness
  • Improve brain plasticity
  • Deliver magnesium, zinc, and fiber to your brain and body

At Silver Comet Village, we believe in creating experiences and preserving memories with friends and family. Why should dining in our community be any different? The dining experience at Silver Comet Village welcomes friends and family and provides balanced, nutritious meals that complement a healthy, active lifestyle. Contact us to learn more about our community and the services we provide.