The fascinating results of a recent AARP study are in: those who maintain a healthy diet are twice as likely to consider their mental acuity to be very good or excellent compared to those who rarely eat well. In particular, a diet rich in fish, fruits and vegetables equated to better brain health.
The participants’ responses match the recommendations of AARP’s Global Council on Brain Health, which also adds the need to reduce intake of salt, saturated fats, and excessive alcohol that have been shown to have a detrimental effect on brain health. Per Sarah Lock, senior vice president for policy and executive director of GCBH, “Many of us have gotten used to the idea of heart-healthy foods, but now we know that those same foods can make a big difference in our brain health, as well.”
So, why aren’t more seniors following these simple guidelines? The reasons stated include:
- Eating healthy is too expensive.
- It’s difficult to follow a healthy eating plan.
- Stores selling healthy foods are too far away.
- They won’t like the taste.
- They don’t believe it will make a difference in their health.
However, a full 90% of participants stated they would take steps to eat better if they thought it would reduce their risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cognitive decline.
The daily recommendations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ChooseMyPlate initiative include the following for older adults:
- 1 ½ – 2 cups of fruits
- 2 – 3 cups of vegetables
- 3 cups of dairy
- 5 – 6 ounces of protein
- 5 – 7 ounces of grain
Eating a variety of different types of these foods on a consistent basis is key. It can also be helpful to create a plan to help overcome objections to healthy eating, and to enlist the help of a trusted family member, friend, or professional caregiver from North River Home Care to help stick to the plan.
North River Home Care in Cape Cod and the surrounding area can help make healthy eating a reality for seniors, by shopping for groceries and ensuring the fridge and pantry are well stocked with good food choices, planning and preparing nutritious meals, and more! We can also provide friendly companionship during mealtimes to alleviate the loneliness that may contribute to unhealthy eating, along with the encouragement to make good food choices. Contact us at (781) 659-1366 for details.