One of the best things about summer is the food. And no, we’re not talking about elephant ears and cotton candy, but fruits and veggies. During the winter months it can sometimes be challenging to find a lot of options for in-season fruits and vegetables, but once summer hits, the options are endless.
It becomes increasingly important to maintain a healthy diet as you age because it can greatly reduce your risk for common conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Plus, studies have shown that incorporating the right foods into your diet can actually lower your risk of developing certain types of dementia and age-related memory loss.
But which options are the best for your overall health? And which ones are the best foods to promote brain health?
It’s not uncommon to experience changes in appetite as you age. Pay attention to your body’s changes and try to adjust your diet in a healthy way. Always avoid processed foods, especially ones high in cholesterol, sodium, saturated fats and added sugars.
Instead, reach for these five summertime favorites and start reaping the benefits for your brain and your body:
1. Dark Berries – Early summer is when berries are in peak picking condition. Gather some friends and go berry picking for strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and cherries. These antioxidant-rich berries produce flavonoids that are vital to boosting memory. Consider mixing them in a morning smoothie or yogurt for a refreshing snack that is also good for your brain.
2. Leafy Green Vegetables – Again, nothing beats a fresh tossed salad on a hot summer day. Opt for kale, broccoli, romaine lettuce and spinach. These super foods are packed with iron, vitamin E, folate and other minerals essential for fighting memory loss. Studies have shown that eating about five-to-six servings of dark green veggies a week can help reduce your risk of developing certain types of dementia.
3. Oatmeal and Whole Grain Oats – In summer, it’s common to want to spend all your time outdoors. But, whatever you do don’t skip breakfast! Oatmeal provides you with lasting energy, vitamin B, E, potassium and zinc, all of which are essential to ensuring your brain functions at optimum levels.
4. Nuts – Nuts are the perfect grab-and-go snack for a busy summer and make a good choice to keep in your purse or car. Nuts like walnuts and almonds are high in fiber, antioxidants and healthy fats. These memory boosting snacks can also reduce cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
5. Water – While this is not technically a summer food, it can be found in a lot of summer favorites. It’s very easy to get dehydrated in the summer, and the brain needs water to function. Water is also helpful for memory, reasoning, attention span, and concentration. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times and incorporate some fruits and vegetables that have a high water content into your diet, such as watermelon, celery, cucumbers and strawberries.
The most important thing to remember is that your overall diet impacts your brain health. By incorporating more foods that support brain health into your diet, you can do your part to ward of age-related memory loss and certain types of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
If you are ready to start looking for options to downsize in your retirement years, consider the life plan community of St. Joseph of the Pines. Conveniently located in beautiful North Carolina, our campuses support a variety of living options to cater to every stage of retirement life. Contact us today to schedule a tour of Belle Meade and Pine Knoll to see if we are a good for you.