Posted on Jan 20, 2016 | Comments (0)
When we talk about the best foods for seniors we focus on the foods that can aid in slowing cognitive decline and reduce physical pain. There are three main groups to look at, these are: the antioxidants, the essential fatty acids and the vitamins. Within these groups are certain foods that deliver the highest amounts of each beneficial element.
The benefit of eating foods high in antioxidants is the prevention of cell damage from oxidizing agents. Antioxidants target and neutralize the free radicals that damage cells. Nutrition research is full of studies supporting this action, so feel confident in eating these high antioxidant foods:
The Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences and Center for Epidemiologic Research, Utah State University conducted an antioxidant study that was published in the Journal of Nutritional Health and Aging (May-June 2007). It concluded that, “High antioxidant intake from food and supplement sources of vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotene may delay cognitive decline in the elderly.”
The essential fatty acids DHA and EPA (Omega 3 fatty acids) are best obtained from foods as the body cannot make them from other nutrients. The EFAs are stars at decreasing inflammation in the body. Inflammation is at the root of many diseases and physical pain. DHA in particular is important for neurological development, which is linked to stemming the decline of cognitive abilities as we age. Low DHA levels may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Higher Omega 3s in the diet are also beneficial in reducing cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends that all adults eat fish at least twice a week to reduce the risk of heart disease. Some of the best food sources for DHA and EPA are:
As for vitamins, it is good for seniors to focus on vitamins A, B, and C (easy to remember A-B-C!). In scientific studies, higher intake of both Vitamin A and C appears to be associated with lower cognitive impairment in seniors. Best food sources of vitamin C include:
For vitamin A, eat more:
B complex vitamins (particularly B12, B6, and folic acid) may bring relief to slow cognitive decline due to aging as well.
It is easy enough to learn about how to slow cognitive decline with nutrition but many seniors will have a hard time implementing dietary changes. Their eating habits have been learned over a long, long time and are not easy to change. They may also lose interest quickly in making changes to their meals. Caregivers or family members can be a big help in this area by preparing meals for the senior that utilize the foods detailed above. When the client likes something, that meal can be repeated until they have become accustomed to it.
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Article source: https://www.brainscape.com/blog/2015/01/senior-superfoods/