Nutrition For Seniors

One of the most frequent questions I get asked by residents is “How can I prevent mental decline through diet?”  The good news is Martha Clare Morris, PhD has created the MIND diet, Mediterranean - DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.

The MIND diet is a hybrid of the DASH and Mediterranean diets to help create a diet aimed at reducing the risk of dementia and the decline in brain health that people often experience as they age. Such decline, however, is not considered a normal part of aging.

A recent study, funded by the National Institute on Aging, shows that the MIND diet lowered the risk of Alzheimer's by as much as 53 percent in participants who adhered to the diet rigorously, and by about 35 percent in those who followed it moderately.

Top 10 Brain-healthy foods to eat on the MIND diet:

To keep it simple, here are the  10 foods to eat on the MIND diet

* Green, leafy vegetables: Aim for six or more servings per week. 
* All other vegetables: Try to make your plate as colorful as possible and eat another vegetable in addition to the green leafy vegetables at least once a day. 
* Berries: Eat berries at least twice a week. Types of berries to eat include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries for their antioxidant 
* Nuts: Aim for five servings of unsalted nuts a week. It’s best to vary the type of nuts you eat to obtain a variety of nutrients.
* Olive oil: Use olive oil as your main cooking oil. It is full on monounsaturated, heart-healthy fats.
* Whole grains: Aim for at least three servings daily. Choose whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and 100% whole-wheat bread. They are full of fiber and B nutrients!
* Fish: Eat fish at least once a week. It is best to choose fatty fish like salmon, sardines, trout, tuna and mackerel for their high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
* Beans: Include beans in at least four meals every week. This includes all beans, lentils and soybeans.
* Poultry: Try to eat grilled, baked or broiled chicken or turkey at least twice a week. 
* Wine: Aim for no more than one glass daily. Research has focused on the red wine compound resveratrol, which may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

It's never too early or too late to start eating a brain-healthy diet. The longer you maintain this type of diet, the greater the benefits for your mind and body.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25681666 
https://www.rush.edu/news/diet-may-help-prevent-alzheimers 

Christina Gilboy is a Registered Dietitian, Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. She shares her expertise and passion for healthy living with residents as Lenbrook's Nutrition Care Manager, overseeing daily menus for all Lenbrook food service, providing individualized medical nutrition therapy, and dietary education. A college soccer player at Appalachian State University, Christina holds bachelors' degrees in both Health Promotion and Nutrition and Dietetics.