10 Brain-Boosting Snack Options for Seniors in Memory Care Assisted Living
The foods we consume have a huge effect on our brain health. If you want to give your brain a boost, then simply eat a brain-boosting diet. You will improve both short and long-term brain functioning.
Did you know that the brain consumes around 20% of the body’s calories? It’s definitely a hungry organ, and to work well, it needs good fuel. That way, you can maintain your concentration throughout the day.
Here are the 8 best brain food snacks for seniors in memory care assisted living.
Brain-Boosting Foods for Seniors in Memory Care Assisted Living
Avocados make great snacks. The infamous “avocado toast” meme comes to mind. But besides that, they can be made into various snacks or even eaten with a little salt and pepper, and there are plenty of avocado snack ideas on Google.
This fruit is a powerhouse full of nutrients. Avocados have both folate and Vitamin K, which work to prevent blood clotting in the brain. These nutrients also boost cognitive functioning, especially when it comes to concentration and memory. And finally, avocados are composed of 75% monounsaturated fats. These are the healthy types of fats that can boost your memory and support the brain chemical responsible for learning.
2. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate actually has many benefits for the brain.
It contains cocoa, aka cacao. Cacao has flavonoids, which is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are essential for brain health.
According to a study from 2013, cacao flavonoids can also improve memory and learning.
In a 2018 study, researchers examined participants’ brains after eating dark chocolate with 70% cacao. The researchers concluded that dark chocolate can improve brain plasticity, which is vital for learning.
If you aren’t a fan of dark chocolate, then you can munch on some berries instead. They provide similar benefits to the brain as dark chocolate does. Several kinds of berries provide flavonoid antioxidants. These include:
According to a review from 2014, antioxidant berry compounds provide several helpful benefits to the brain. These include:
- Reduce or delay age-related diseases affecting the brain. In effect, this means reducing cognitive decline.
- Increase brain plasticity. This allows the brain to form new connections and improve learning/memory.
- Reduce inflammation in the body.
- Helps brain cells communicate with each other better.
And when it comes to blueberries specifically, they are known as “brainberries” for a good reason. This is because they are likely effective in reducing short-term memory loss.
4. Seeds and Nuts
Fish and capsules aren’t the only sources of omega-3. Nuts and seeds are an excellent source, and they also contain antioxidants.
One important antioxidant they contain is Vitamin E. This vitamin protects cells from oxidative stress, which becomes more and more common as someone gets older.
According to a review from 2014, Vitamin E could also improve cognition and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
The specific seeds and nuts with the largest amounts of Vitamin E are:
- Sunflower seeds
Coffee is well known for its ability to aid concentration and help one stay awake and focus better.
However, a 2018 study suggests that its benefits go beyond just increasing alertness. Caffeine might also allow the brain to process information better. The researchers discovered that caffeine increases brain entropy. Entropy refers to complex brain activities. The higher the entropy, the better the brain can process new information.
Coffee also contains antioxidants. Antioxidants can boost brain health as you get older.
And another study connected lifetime coffee drinkers with a lower risk of:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Cognitive decline
The main downside of coffee is that it can interfere with a person’s natural sleeping rhythm/schedule. This is why doctors don’t recommend coffee for everyone. However, as long as it’s safe for you to drink it, it should be fine to drink it every day. Just don’t drink coffee less than 12 hours before your bedtime. 12 hours is how long it typically takes for the caffeine to completely leave your system.
Peanuts can boost your energy throughout the day thanks to their protein and many unsaturated fats.
As for brain health, they give vitamins and minerals that are essential for brain health. The main ones being resveratrol and Vitamin E.
According to the evidence found in this review article, resveratrol can serve as a shield against many different ailments. These include cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, inflammation, and other neurological diseases.
Salads always make nice snacks. And luckily, you can load them with brain-boosting foods! Let’s start with leafy greens. You can never get enough of these – but keep this in mind: the darker and richer the color, the healthier it is. Leafy greens are chock full of Vitamin K – this vitamin is important for verbal memory. They also contain Vitamin A, which helps to prevent inflammation. Greens such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach, and romaine lettuce help to prevent dementia. Kale is especially beneficial for staving off dementia since it contains a high amount of Vitamin B, which helps to halt memory loss and slow down the brain’s aging.
You should do your best to include walnuts in your midday snack time. You could also add them to your salad for some extra crunch.
Walnuts will improve your working memory. They also contain plenty of omega-3 fats + antioxidants. They even possess anti-inflammatory properties, reducing brain inflammation.
This herb/spice is part of the ginger family. It works well in many cooking recipes and can be added to your favorite snack salad or soup.
Turmeric raises antioxidant levels and keeps your immune system healthy. At the same time, it improves your brain’s oxygen intake. This allows you to stay attentive for longer and to process information better. And finally, turmeric can destroy the brain plaque that might cause Alzheimer’s.
Beets contain plenty of natural nitrates to improve the flow of blood to your brain. Higher blood flow means better mental performance. And when it comes to beets specifically, they improve the flow of blood to the part of your brain that is linked to dementia.
Beets can be added to a snack salad, or you can even just drink the juice to derive these brain benefits. Doing this daily will help to stave off dementia.