Mind and body are always connected. It’s funny how the most unlikely circumstances in life make you feel a certain way… like you can’t put your finger on it. The same is true when we consume food and fluids. Eating the right foods can help improve memory, concentration, and overall mental health.
So it begs the question, what are some of the best foods for memory improvement and sharpness? To answer this question, we must look at the beneficial nutrients such as Omega 3’s, zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, and antioxidants.
Omega Threes – increases blood flow to the brain, according to the National Library of Medicine. Foods high in omega threes include pumpkin flax seed, chia seed, walnuts, salmon, cod liver oil, herring, and oysters, among others.
Zinc – promotes communication between brain neurons, particularly the hippocampus, according to Colgate University. Zinc-rich foods include red meat, shellfish, eggs, peanuts, hemp seed, etc.
Magnesium – promotes neuroplasticity, according to the National Library of Medicine. Foods high in zinc include cashews, oats, soymilk, boiled spinach, almonds, dark chocolate, avocados, etc.
Iron – plays a key role in normal brain function and the process of brain development, according to the National Library of Medicine. Iron-rich foods include legumes, dark leafy greens, lamb, turkey, liver, strawberries, prunes, tuna, clams, etc.
Worst Foods For Memory
Diet and lifestyle go hand and hand. The dietary rules don’t just stop at the foods you should be eating. What about the foods you seniors should avoid? Spike your blood sugar over time, and you can damage your blood vessels, hurting cognitive impairment. Low blood sugar also holds true for poor memory. The key is to have balance.
Many people, especially seniors on a fixed income, spend much of their food budget on junk food, high-processed food, and alcohol. Avoid the following foods at the grocery store: soda and drinks with artificial sweeteners, margarine, white bread, and fish high in mercury. These foods can cause harm to your mental acuity over time and deterioration in sharpness.
Brain Games Can Help Memory
According to Everyday Health, brain games are linked to improving memory and decreasing the risk of cognitive decline. The reason is that engaging in memory activities and problem-solving skills can strengthen connections between neurons. In addition to the mental health benefits, these activities can help us become more productive in our daily lives by sharpening our minds and keeping us busy. Several games we recommend are chess, crossword puzzles, and sudoku. We also recommend reading and listening to audiobooks. Try and remember small details from the book and story plotlines.
Exercise and Impact on Mental Acuity
Regular exercise is beneficial not only for your heart but also for your mind. Increasing our heart rate through exercise circulates blood throughout the body, helping to reduce stress levels. Exercise also releases beneficial proteins called neurons responsible for overall brain health. According to Harvard Medical School, regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory and thinking skills.
So, how often should seniors exercise, and which types of exercises are best? Anything that increases heart rate is beneficial. The key is regularity and safety. Try to exercise 4-5 days per week, and continuously monitor your body for aches and pains, as they could be signs of injuries to come. We also recommend
mixing light weightlifting with a more traditional cardiovascular activity such as swimming, running, biking, etc.
Passions and Interests
It’s important to note the above suggestions are meant to improve your memory and overall health. Whether you are reading this article for yourself or an elderly loved one, remember there are infinite ways to keep your brain sharp. However, there is no more critical factor than tapping into your passions and interests. If you love chess, then play. If you prefer to swim instead of run, then find a gym with a pool. Tapping into your passions and doing healthy activities that you enjoy will keep you sharper and improve your quality of life.
We hope this article inspires you to be proactive about your mental health starting today. Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, depression, anxiety, and numerous other conditions can affect our memory and alter our perception of reality. Cognitive decline is a natural part of aging, but we can do something about it simply by incorporating healthy practices into our daily routines.
If you are looking for senior living in Phoenix, please contact Immanuel Campus of Care to schedule a tour of our wonderful community. We are looking forward to meeting you!