What if your beloved father could stay mentally alert through his eighties? What if all it took was a change in diet?
Senior care specialists are saying that a diet called MIND could keep older brains firing on all cylinders further into old age. MIND is actually a hybrid of two older diets, the Mediterranean diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.
Both diets emphasize the importance of fruits and vegetables, lean protein like poultry and fish, whole grains, and avoidance of fried foods, red meat, butter, cheese, and food containing refined sugar.
The MIND diet was developed specifically to prevent Alzheimer disease and other dementias. But it is an overall healthy diet that is targeted to the specific nutrition needs of people over 65.
The MIND diet pushes “brain food”
Medical experts who advocate the MIND diet recommend frequent portions of:
- Blueberries--Because of their anti-inflammatory properties, seniors should eat two servings of blueberries a week.
- Figs--Figs contain natural antibiotics, anti-oxidants, and potassium, all of them associated with overall health and, in particular, neurological health.
- Ocean fish--The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon, sardines, mackerel, canned tuna, herring, and cod has been shown to have numerous health benefits for heart and brain.
- Nuts--Nuts are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids as is olive oil. Raw nuts are better than nuts that have been doused in salt and oil.
- Green leaves--Salads rich in red leaf lettuce, kale, spinach, and mustard greens are not only good for heart and brain health, they are also extremely effective in weight management.
- Whole grains--The MIND diet strongly advocates swapping out white bread for whole wheat and swapping out sugary cereals for oatmeal or brown rice.
The MIND diet isn’t just for the mind
Studies show that what happens in the brain is connected to other organs in the body, especially the heart, veins, and arteries. That means that a diet that is good for the brain must also be good for the heart.
Heart healthy foods need to control cholesterol and weight because clogged arteries and obesity are leading causes in heart disease. By promoting the consumption of salad greens, raw nuts, lean proteins, and whole rather refined grains, the MIND diet nurtures the brain, the heart, the vascular system, and many other organs.
Home Care can Help your Senior Eat Right
Okay that’s all well and good, you might be thinking. But how do I get my father or grandfather to follow the MIND diet?
Here is where professional home care comes to the rescue. By shopping, cooking, and handling the difficult aspects of food preparation, like chopping, home care professionals are well placed to coax seniors into eating right.
Senior care providers can observe what foods your senior likes and figure out recipes that can implement the MIND diet painlessly. For instance, blueberries can be added to other fruits to make a delicious salad. Figs can be chopped up and rolled in oats to make cookies, Your senior might not like sardines, but he might love a tuna melt.
To sum up, seniors benefit greatly from a diet that is rich in vegetables, berries, lean protein, whole grains, nuts, and omega 3 fatty acids. Getting your aging parent to eat the foods recommended by the MIND diet might be easier than you think, with the right home care professional.
If you or an aging loved one is considering home care in Red Lodge, MT, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare Billings today at 406-839-2390.