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The Best Foods for Brain Health and How They Can Improve Cognitive Functioning

The fascinating results of a recent AARP study are in: people who maintain a healthy diet are twice as likely to consider their mental acuity to be very good or excellent in comparison to those who rarely eat well. In particular, an eating plan high in the best foods for brain health (fish, vegetables and fruits) equated to higher brain functioning. 

The participants’ responses match the recommendations of AARP’s Global Council on Brain Health, which also adds the need to reduce intake of salt, fatty foods, and excessive alcohol that have been shown to have a detrimental impact on brain health. Per Sarah Lock, senior vice president for policy and executive director of GCBH, “Many of us have gotten used to the idea of heart-healthy foods, but now we know that those same foods can make a big difference in our brain health, as well.” 

So, why aren’t more seniors following these simple recommendations? The reasons stated include:

  • Eating healthy is too expensive.
  • It’s tough to follow a healthy eating plan.
  • Stores selling healthy food are too far away.
  • They won’t like the taste.
  • They don’t believe it'll make a big change in their health.

However, a full ninety percent of respondents stated they'd take steps to eat better if they thought it would lower their risk of heart problems, diabetes, and cognitive decline.

The daily guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ChooseMyPlate initiative include the following for the elderly:

  • 1 ½ - 2 cups of fruits
  • 2 – 3 cups of vegetables
  • 3 cups of dairy
  • 5 – 6 ounces of protein
  • 5 – 7 ounces of grain 

Eating a variety of different sorts of these foods on a regular basis is key. It can also be helpful to create a plan to help overcome objections to healthy eating, and then to enlist the aid of a trustworthy family member, friend, or professional caregiver for support to adhere to the plan. 

The Indiana in-home care team at Homecare by Design can help make healthy eating a reality for aging adults, by choosing groceries and ensuring the fridge and pantry are well stocked with great food choices, planning and preparing healthy meals, and more! We could also provide warm and friendly companionship during mealtimes to alleviate the loneliness that can contribute to unhealthy eating, together with encouragement to ensure good food choices. Call us at 765.464.8080 to learn more about the best foods for brain health and for details on our customized home care solutions for seniors

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