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
- Wash and cut tomatoes in halves.
- Drain beans with water.
- Chop onion and cilantro finely.
- Prepare and mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt/pepper in a separate bowl.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and pour dressing over beans and mix in well.
- Refrigerate and cover for 2 hours before serving.
Kelsey Guth and Brittany Wood are Registered Dietitian Nutritionists for Medical Facilities of America.