Whether you prefer salty treats or sweet eats, trail mix is the perfect dish, as it combines a number of different tastes in one transportable snack. This savory selection is not only an ideal choice for seniors on-the-go, but it can feature several ingredients ideal for increasing cognitive health.
Carry it to the park, bring it to the book club or use it to become the talk of the retirement community, but be sure to include these brain-boosting treats in your trail mix:
Build your base
Depending on personal preferences, the core of your creation may differ. Even if you don't choose to make these ingredients the highlight of your dish, consider adding them to the pot:
- Nuts: Walnuts, peanuts and almonds have all been linked to improved memory, according to Health.com. Whether you choose to roast them, salt them or throw them in raw, nuts are the ideal choice for a cognitive-focused base.
- Cereal: Whole-grain cereals, such as Cheerios, Chex or bran, can provide a nice crunch to the mix. Fiber is key for bolstering overall physical health, including staving off heart disease and stroke.
- Popcorn: While this choice may seem unhealthy to some, nutritionists agree that popcorn is actually one of the healthiest foods on the market - as long as you eat it plain. Don't reach for the microwave pouch, but use a pan and small bit of extra-virgin olive oil to pop your own kernels. These puffs are an excellent source of whole grain, fiber and B vitamins.
Choose your additions
Once you've selected the best base ingredients, it's time to toss in your toppings. Try to balance sweet and salty flavors when creating your concoction, as you don't want one flavor to outshine the others.
- Dark chocolate: If you're baking this snack for those with a sweet tooth - such as grandchildren or chocolate enthusiasts - consider sprinkling a light amount of chocolate into the mix. Be sure to go for dark chocolate, though, as this treat is replete with nutrients that can help prevent strokes and increase blood flow to the brain, FitDay reported.
- Dried fruits: Berries are an excellent source of nutrients for cognitive health. Several studies have been published that connect these fruits to higher memory function and a lower chance for developing Alzheimer's disease. Dried cranberries and blueberries are perfect options.
- Seeds: Sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds contain oils, proteins and fatty acids that help boost brain function. Even if you only add a pinch, be sure to take advantage of these powerful picks when finishing your mix.
For some people, nothing says springtime more than a bunch of berries. With the weather becoming more and more enjoyable with each passing day, there is no better time than now to start reintroducing an array of refreshing ingredients into your daily diet, including these types of fruit. For instance, National Blueberry Pie Day is on its way, making it reason enough to begin digging into these natural treats. In addition to savoring the sweet yet tangy flavor that blueberries boast, those living in senior communities will appreciate the slew of health benefits that come from this fruit.
Over the years, a number of ingredients have earned the "brain food" title. According to The Huffington Post, although eating a balanced diet is perennially recommended for better health, people may particularly benefit from consuming certain foods that have been scientifically proven to promote cognitive function and memory.
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:
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.