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Brain Food for Older Adults

By: Brittany Wood, RDN and Kelsey Guth, RDN

Loss of brain function is believed to be a natural consequence of aging. However, it has been shown that B-complex vitamins are helpful and healthy for the human brain. A diet with a higher intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, and legumes can contribute to a sharper brain. In addition, having a lower intake of high-fat dairy, processed meat, and sweets can also contribute to brain health. Beans are an excellent source of many B vitamins and are readily available and easy to incorporate into meals. Many wheat and rice products are also enriched with many B vitamins.

Want to boost your vitamin B intake? These meal options are rich in B vitamins:

  • Soups and Stews: These meals can be nutrient dense. Try adding beans, lentils, and vegetables such as bell peppers, turnip and mustard greens, spinach, and broccoli to a vegetable stock.
  • Beans and vegetables in common dishes: incorporate beans into salads, Mexican dishes, and other ethnic cuisine.
  • Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are nutrient-dense and rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, which could be beneficial for brain health.
  • Tea: antioxidants found in tea may help maintain brain function.

 

Recipe Feature: Bean Salad

2 cans kidney beans

2 cans black beans

2 cans chickpeas

1 medium onion

½ c fresh cilantro

2 cartons of cherry or grape tomatoes

½ c olive oil

½ c balsamic vinegar

Dash of salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Wash and cut tomatoes in halves.
  2. Drain beans with water.
  3. Chop onion and cilantro finely.
  4. Prepare and mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt/pepper in a separate bowl.
  5. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and pour dressing over beans and mix in well.
  6. Refrigerate and cover for 2 hours before serving.

Kelsey Guth and Brittany Wood are Registered Dietitian Nutritionists for Medical Facilities of America.