Medical experts agree that eating a balanced diet can promote health and physical well-being. According to the Mayo Clinic, some foods may also boost cognitive ability and slow mental decline by helping individuals maintain appropriate levels of cholesterol and blood sugar. Focusing daily meals around whole grains, fruits, vegetables and foods that contain healthy fat can promote these efforts. Here are a few ideas for people in independent living who want to incorporate a few of these items into their regular diet:
Filling and nutritious, grains are a staple and can make for a simple centerpiece in any meal. Try incorporating a variety of grains in your weekly menu. For lunch or dinner, whole grain pasta is a quick and versatile option, which can be dressed up with a dab of olive oil and spices or marinara sauce, and combined with low-fat protein like chicken, as well as grilled or stir fried vegetables. Try making a cold salad of cracked wheat or barley, paired with sun dried tomatoes, chopped parsley and cucumbers, topped with a splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with feta cheese. Whole wheat can also make a great breakfast food. Consider making toast topped with natural peanut or almond butter, or cooked steel-cut oats sweetened with chunks of apple, cinnamon and molasses.
Fruits and Vegetables
Vegetables and fruits both make perfect snack options, especially when you're on the go. Grab an apple or banana and pair it with a handful of almonds or walnuts or some dried cranberries. Blueberries may be especially helpful in boosting short-term memory, according to research from Tufts University. Likewise, vegetables are easy to incorporate into any meal as a steamed or grilled side dish topped with olive oil, or sauteed with garlic or nuts and sprinkled with salt.
Nuts and Seeds
Pack protein into any dish by adding a handful of chopped nuts. Sliced almonds and green beans complement many noodle or protein dishes, and walnuts are tasty atop plain yogurt and berries, drizzled with a spoonful of honey, or as a topping for homemade applesauce. You can create your own version of trail mix by selecting two types of nuts and combining them with dried fruit, unsweetened coconut flakes and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Don't forget to save the pumpkin seeds from your Jack-o'-lantern, which can be lightly salted and baked for a crunchy and seasonal snack.
Food from the Mediterranean Sea region has been lauded by experts like the Mayo Clinic for its brain-boosting potential. Try one of these dishes inspired by Mediterranean cuisine to create delicious meals rich in health benefits and flavor:
Fall is a great time of year, not only for the beautiful foliage, but also for some of the great foods that are in season this time of year. Most of us like to take advantage of eating as many pumpkin flavored things as we can, and we have a recipe that not only fulfills the craving, but is also great for the brain.
As we get older, we try and turn back time to look years younger. However, many people may not realize it's not nips and tucks you need - it's a good diet.
Many people know about the benefits of ginseng, but unfortunately it's a bitter pill to swallow - literally. Ginseng is known for its pungent taste, but researchers are hoping adding it to a low lactose milk could help seniors get the nutrient's cognitive benefits without the bad aftertaste.