The Best (& Worst) Foods for Brain Health

June 1, 2022 | Senior Health

In addition to getting enough sleep and exercise, consuming a diet rich in brain-boosting foods is a great way to promote healthy aging, keep your mind sharp, and reduce your risk for dementia and memory impairment.

Astral at Auburn delivers exceptional senior living experiences, including independent living, assisted living and memory care services. Part of our commitment is providing meals that encourage brain health – foods full of vitamins and nutrients that support cognitive function.

In the process of developing specialized menus tailored to the needs and preferences of our residents, we have compiled a list of some of the best foods for brain health. Plus, we highlight some of the worst foods for brain health, which should be limited or avoided whenever possible, as they can contribute to cognitive decline and increase your risk of dementia.

Best Foods for Brain Health

Whether you are planning an elaborate meal or searching for a healthy snack, here are some essential ingredients that can boost brain health and improve your overall wellness. Consider adding these to your rotation today:

  • Leafy Greens: Leafy greens are some of the best foods for brain health, and they are also some of the most versatile. You can use kale and spinach in fresh smoothies or cook them down to use in a delicious omelet. Broccoli is perfect for snacking or as a side in any meal. Best of all, leafy greens contain folate, beta carotene, and vitamin K, essential minerals and vitamins that can slow cognitive decline.
  • Eggs: Eggs are another versatile food full of choline, which reduces inflammation in the brain. Choline has also been shown to improve communication between brain cells, which speeds up processing and decision making.
  • Fatty fish: When planning your next dinner, consider adding salmon, cod or tuna to the menu. They are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
  • Blueberries: Considered a superfood, blueberries are full of the brain-boosting power of manganese, flavonoids and vitamin K. They are not only delicious but easy to incorporate into a lot of different meals and snacks, making them a perfect brain food.
  • Walnuts: If you need a quick and healthy snack, walnuts are a wonderful source of protein. They also reduce inflammation and are full of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Whether you eat them alone or add them to a salad, walnuts are a great addition to your diet. 

Worst Foods for Brain Health

There are many ways to enjoy a delicious and healthy meal, but there are also common foods that can be harmful to your overall health when consumed often. So, whenever possible, try to limit or eliminate the items on this list – or replace them with items listed above! 

  • Processed foods: Processed foods have been shown to increase your risk of stroke and dementia while also leading to other health issues. Whenever you can, choose fresh, natural ingredients.
  • Sugar: Sugar is another ingredient that has been shown to dramatically increase your risk for various diseases.  A single 12-ounce can of soda has more sugar than your entire daily allotment, so you should closely monitor your sugar intake each day.
  • Red meat: Red meat is a popular protein, but it is also high in saturated fat. Unfortunately, too much saturated fat causes plaque buildup in the bloodstream and can lead to a stroke or neurological diseases. There are many healthier protein sources, including lean chicken and fish like tuna or salmon.
  • Alcohol: Some research suggests that a glass of wine each day can have certain health benefits, but overall, alcohol can lead to serious cognitive decline. Not only does alcohol keep oxygen from reaching the brain, but cocktails are often high in sugar, delivering a double-helping of harmful foods.

At Astral at Auburn, we help individuals live happier and healthier lives with our commitment to world-class care and support. Our dining menus and available snacks are all heart and brain-healthy, allowing residents to take control of their nutrition and keep their cognitive function high.

Visit our website today to learn more about our senior living community in Auburn, Indiana, and our commitment to brain-boosting foods.

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