Essential Nutrients for Brain Health and Memory
We grew up hearing about the food pyramid, bad carbs, and good ones, too. It’s always been good advice for maintaining weight and healthy cholesterol levels. Today, though, understanding the essential nutrients for seniors has a new focus—maintaining healthy brains and improving cognitive function.
Medical professionals and nutrition experts know now that certain diets featuring certain nutrients play a critical role in brain health—especially in helping to reduce the risk of dementia and depression. Of course, reaching for any vegetable, fruit, or whole grain is better than reaching for a piece of candy. But if it’s a healthier brain you’re after, it’s important to include these foods that contain the key nutrients for better memory.
Good Food for Your Noggin
So what are the best brain foods for senior memory and brain health function? Scientists have charted a new evidence-based take on the food pyramid by compiling the BEN Scale. BEN stands for Brain Essential Nutrients. The foods on the BEN list contain key nutritional elements with clear links to keeping your brain healthy.
The good news is, there’s nothing on the list you can’t buy at your local grocery store, and it all can be easily incorporated into your daily diet and delicious dishes.
Below are some of the essential nutrients for senior brain health on the BEN Scale. We’ve listed which vitamins are good for memory and concentration, why they’re important, and what foods contain them so you can add them to your grocery list. Remember the adage … everything in moderation!
|Nutrient||Why You Need It||How to Get It|
|Magnesium||Important for nerve impulse conduction||Green leafy vegetables like spinach, as well as legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains|
|Calcium||Important for healthy brain neurotransmitters, which affect memory storage||Dairy, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, beans, figs, quinoa, broccoli, and kale|
|Fiber||Thought to help delay brain aging by triggering anti-inflammatory agents||Foods made with whole grains, berries, avocado, apples, nuts, and oatmeal|
|Long Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids||Fight inflammation and maintain brain structure in aging brains||Olive oil, soybean oil, fish, nuts, avocado, and meat.|
|Vitamin D||Linked to reducing risk of dementia||Moderate sun exposure, salmon, tuna, egg yolks, mushrooms, and supplements|
|Vitamin E||Believed to help with brain health by reducing oxidative stress||Oils from sunflower, soybean, corn, safflower, almonds, spinach, pumpkin, and peanuts|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)||Important for helping the body turn energy from food into energy for the brain||Pork loin, asparagus, lentils, black beans, beef liver, edamame, and fortified breakfast cereals|
|Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)||Important for making and repairing DNA||Asparagus, avocados, Brussels sprouts, and leafy greens like spinach and lettuce|
|Vitamin B12 (Cobalamins)||Linked to improved cognition||Beef, liver, chicken, trout, salmon, tuna fish, eggs, low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese|
Cognitive Function Diets Worth Trying
At Crestwood Manor, our chefs are focused on serving residents meals that aren’t just healthy; they’re also delicious. Our dining room is a lovely place to enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but many of our independent living residents also love to prepare their own special dishes on occasion right in their own apartments.
Either way, at Crestwood Manor, you’ll discover many ways to live your healthiest, most enjoyable retirement life! We’d love to show you around our community and treat you to a meal in our dining room. Simply fill out our request form today, and we’ll be in touch.