What we choose to feed our bodies with directly impacts how it functions, including the brain. Consuming foods that supply healthy nutrients to your brain can go a long way in promoting cognitive health and delaying the onset or effects of dementia.
To complement the care services we provide, our luxury senior living communities throughout Texas offer exceptional dining options that incorporate brain-boosting foods to help support brain health.
To help you in your everyday mission to promote a healthy mind, our team at Franklin Park® Senior Living is sharing some of the best and worst foods for brain health.
Best Brain-Boosting Foods
Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, collards, and broccoli are excellent brain-boosting foods as they contain 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.”
Furthermore, according to Harvard Health Publishing, “research suggests these plant-based foods may help slow cognitive decline.”
Harvard Health Publishing states, “fatty fish are abundant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, healthy unsaturated fats that have been linked to lower blood levels of beta-amyloid – the protein that forms damaging clumps in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.”
Because omega-3s build membranes around cells in the body, they can improve the structure of cells in the brain, otherwise known as neurons. Furthermore, omega-3s increase blood flow to the brain, which can lead to better cognitive functioning.
Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids include:
Berries are another brain-boosting food. Many berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries) contain flavonoid antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, making a great addition to a brain-healthy diet.
Medical News Today reports, “the antioxidants in berries include anthocyanin, caffeic acid, catechin, and quercetin.” Together the compounds of antioxidants found in berries provide a number of benefits that support brain health, such as:
- Improving communication between cells
- Reducing inflammation throughout the body
- Increasing plasticity, which helps brain cells form new connections, boosting learning and memory
- Reducing or delaying age-related neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline
Worst Foods for Brain Health
Foods such as white flour, white bread, and white pasta typically have a high glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL), meaning that your body processes them quickly, which can cause a spike in your blood sugar and insulin levels.
According to Healthline, “foods that are high-GI and high-GL have been found to impair brain function. Research has shown that just a single meal with a high glycemic load can impair memory in both children and adults.”
Fish High in Mercury
“Mercury is a heavy metal contaminant and neurological poison that can be stored for a long time in animal tissues…The effects of mercury toxicity include disruption of the central nervous system and neurotransmitters and stimulation of neurotoxins, resulting in damage to the brain (Healthline).”
High levels of mercury are usually found in long-lived, predatory fish such as shark, swordfish, orange roughy, and king mackerel.
Overly Processed Foods
Highly processed foods often contain high amounts of added sugar, fats, and salt. Additionally, these foods tend to be high in calories but low in nutrients. While they may fill you up, they are not fueling your body and mind with what it needs to function properly.
Healthline states, “the nutrient composition of processed foods in the Western diet can also negatively affect the brain and contribute to the development of degenerative diseases.”
At Franklin Park® Senior Living, our Texas communities offer exceptional dining services so residents can maintain nutrient-dense diets that support their health needs and goals. We focus on quality while encouraging a healthy lifestyle. That is why we offer lighter, healthy meal choices as well as homestyle favorites and everything in-between.
Do not sacrifice health and nutrition for convenience when you can have both at one of our luxury senior living communities in Texas. To learn more about our lifestyle options or find a community near you, visit our website or contact a member of the Franklin Park® Senior Living team today!