In 1977, when my grandfather passed away at what then seemed like the ripe old age of 73, he had what was called senility. I remember visiting my grandfather in a nursing home. I remember helping him stay on the right page at religious services—services he previously had known like the back of his hand.
Nowadays, we would call his condition dementia which, unfortunately, my mother has been battling for the better part of the past decade.
With my mother and her father both having that medical history, I am quite determined to do everything I can to attempt to avoid that same destiny.
I don’t find it hard to follow the advice. I already exercise a lot and am a healthy eater, the two most important preventive activities for all major diseases (along with not smoking and protecting your skin to reduce the chances of cancer).
According to Dr. Caryn Alter, a registered dietitian at the Star and Barry Tobias Health Awareness Center and in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Department at CentraState Medical Center, foods for brain health include:
- Green leafy vegetables (examples: arugula, kale and spinach)
- Other nutrient-dense vegetables (examples: asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, sweet potatoes and zucchini)
- Whole grains (examples: brown and wild rice, oats, popcorn, quinoa)
- Vegetable oils (especially olive oil)
- Berries (examples: blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries)
- Nuts (examples: almonds, cashews, walnuts)
- Seafood (examples: herring, lake trout, salmon, sardines)
- Poultry (examples: skinless chicken, skinless turkey)
- Beans and other legumes (examples: kidney beans, chickpeas, soybeans, lentils, tofu)
- Dairy (examples: fat-free and low-fat milk and yogurt. Note: although I’ve also heard yogurt with fat is good for brain health, so I’m not sure about that.)
Some foods and drinks have beneficial properties, but should be consumed in moderation, including:
- Wine: One glass of wine a day due to its antioxidant properties. Too much alcohol, however, will increase the risk to your heart and brain.
- Eggs: If you have heart disease, you may want to limit yolks because they are high in saturated fat.
Foods to limit include:
- Pastries and sugary foods (examples: donuts, candy, ice cream, cookies, sweetened beverages)
- Red meat and red meat products (examples: fatty cuts of beef, hot dogs)
- Fast foods and fried foods (examples: hamburgers, fried chicken)
- Butter and margarine made with trans-fats
How are you doing regarding following this eating advice, advice that’s even more important during this pandemic? Join the conversation with your comments…