It’s no secret that our diets play a key role in our health. Eating a variety of preoteins, fresh fruits and veggies is one of the best ways to ward off chronic diseases like dementia, which affects about 50 million seniors worldwide. Studies have shown that seniors may be able to lower their risk of cognitive decline by as much as 35% by eating a balanced Mediterranean diet.
Even if you don’t completely change your eating style, incorporating more fish, veggies, fruits, nuts, and whole grains into your diet can lower your dementia risk by up to 18%. To help you keep your mind sharp, here’s a list of seven foods you can add to your diet that help fight dementia.
1. Fatty fish
Fatty fish like salmon, trout, and sea bass are full of omega-3s, which reduce oxidative stress in the brain and decrease your Alzheimer’s risk. Try to limit your fish intake to two servings a week.
Lemons are rich in a flavonoid called diosmin that improves brain health. Studies have shown that diosmin reduces the amount of beta-amyloid in the brain, which is a protein that triggers cognitive decline. Try squirting some lemon juice over a piece of salmon to get double the brain-boosting benefits!
Turmeric is commonly used in Indian cooking and has a ton of health benefits. The spice contains a compound called curcumin that reduces the amount of plaque in your brain, which makes you less likely to get Alzheimer’s. Turmeric also protects brain health by preventing nerve cells from breaking down. Black pepper enhances the absorption of turmeric, so make sure to add both to your favorite soups and vegetable dishes!
Good news, chocolate lovers! Chocolate has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain and improve both memory and nerve function. This sweet treat boosts brain health because it has flavonoids and polyphenols, which are neuroprotective. Dark chocolate has a higher concentration of these beneficial compounds, so choose it over white chocolate whenever possible. As with all sugary things, try not to have to much in one day.
5. Cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and brussels sprouts contain lots of vitamin B, which increases the production of neurotransmitters and helps prevent dementia. They also have high levels of carotenoids, a type of plant pigment that gives vegetables their color. Carotenoids protect the brain by decreasing homocysteine levels, which is an amino acid that contributes to cognitive decline. For extra brain benefits, try sauteing your veggies in antioxidant-rich olive oil.
Walnuts are not only a delicious snack but also an essential component of brain health as you age. Walnuts contain lots of DHA, which is a fatty acid that reduces inflammation in the brain and improves both memory and cognitive function. Studies have shown that people with Alzheimer’s have lower levels of DHA in their brains than healthy older adults. So, adding more walnuts to your diet may be the key to preventing memory problems down the road.
7. Dark leafy greens
Leafy greens like kale, collard greens, lettuce, and spinach can help keep your brain healthy and young. One study found that eighty-year-olds who ate at least one serving of leafy greens per day performed about 50% better on cognitive tests than seniors who didn’t include greens in their diets. Over five years, the seniors who ate their daily helping of greens had a significant cognitive advantage equivalent to being eleven years younger. Researchers believe greens improve brain health because of their high concentrations of phylloquinone, lutein, and folate.
Incorporating healthy foods, especially these 7 super foods, into your diet can lower your risk of dementia and protect your cognitive function as you age. These seven dementia-fighting foods are a great starting point for improving your diet so you can enjoy many more years with your family and friends.
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