Keeping Your Mind Sharp As You Age
Food is our main source of nourishment. Fortunately, there is enough research that enables us to make conscious decisions on what foods keep us healthy, active and sharp. Certain foods contain vitamins and minerals that can help improve brain health and even prevent dementia. Below are a variety of vitamins and minerals and the foods associated with them to incorporate into your diet.
Vitamins, Minerals & Superfoods
Antioxidants: Foods rich in antioxidants, such as blueberries, help aid the brain in learning and motor skills. Blueberries are also high in phytochemicals which have the most effective means of improving your health according to Kristin Kirkpatrick, a manager of wellness nutrition services at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute. Another great source of antioxidants is coffee. Not only is it a great way to start your day, it is high in antioxidants according to Kirkpatrick. Just try to keep it healthy by avoiding a milk and sugar overload.
Citrus: Foods rich in citrus, such as lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits, play a role in keeping the mind sharp. According to Kirkpatrick, studies in the past have shown that those who incorporated citrus in their diet are able to prevent cognitive decline by more than two years. Try including citrus in your daily diet by adding it to your favorite dressing, drink or recipe.
Vitamin E: This vitamin fights cognitive decline and actually helps preserve memory. Almonds are not only rich in Vitamin E, but they are also high in monounsaturated fats as well as other vitamins and minerals. Almonds make a great mid-snack and they are an easy food to add onto your favorite recipe! Add almonds to a healthy trail mix, salads or yogurt to incorporate this super food.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Similar to almonds, omega-3 fatty acids also prevent cognitive decline. Salmon, sardines, anchovies and trout are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Try eating fish twice per week to maintain your omega-3 fatty acids. They also reduce inflammation in the body, are great for cardiovascular health and preserve brain function.
Monounsaturated fat: The good fat helps prevent high blood pressure. Because a large portion of the brain is made up of fat, incorporating healthy fats is important for our bodies to function. However, look for natural fats that are found in avocados and olive oils. Avoid the artificial fats that are in hydrogenated oils. Just make sure to watch your calorie intake when eating these foods as they are often high calorically.
Maintaining physical and mental health is essential, especially as we age. Focus on the foods you eat and try to incorporate these important vitamins and minerals into your daily diet. Staying social and active with friends and family is another way to keep your mind and body alert and engaged.