Considering that the brain is the command station for our entire body, taking care of it is important. One way to ensure that this complex and magnificent organ works efficiently is by feeding it properly with essential nutrients that promote mental acuity and brain health. Whether you are working to improve your own diet or the diet of a senior in your care, making small changes is often the best way to get started. Let’s take a look at seven foods that promote brain health and should be a part of a healthy eating plan at any age.


Fish is a lean protein containing healthy minerals including zinc, iron and selenium. The acids and fats in fish, including Omega-3 fatty acids (the building blocks for neurons), also possess antidepressant and neuroprotective properties. A recent study in The American Journal of Preventative Medicine  supports findings that consuming fish at least once a week helps seniors to retain long-term brain health and experience less atrophy in areas of the brain that scientists have associated with Alzheimer’s disease.


Like fish, avocados are full of healthy fats. This fruit which is often mistaken for a vegetable contains high percentages of monounsaturated fat that contributes to cardiovascular health and improved blood flow throughout the entire body including the brain. The healthy fat in avocados also helps to keep brain cell membranes flexible, protects nerve cells in the brain and can contribute to increased control of muscles throughout the body.  This creamy green superfood has so many health benefits, and it is easy to add to salads, smoothies or sandwiches.


Crunchy, delicious nuts are a great addition to any diet when your goal is improved brain health. A Harvard study  supports the fact that nut consumption correlates strongly with longevity due to the many health benefits this food offers. Walnuts top the list due to their significantly high percentage of DHA, a type of Omega-3 fatty acid. Almonds and hazelnuts contain high amounts of Vitamin E, a nutrient associated with decreased cognitive decline. Peanuts (actually legumes but often classified with nuts) are high in niacin, a nutrient that activates receptors in the brain and improves blood circulation. While some individuals cannot add nuts to their diet due to food allergies, many can consume these delightful treats on a daily basis at mealtimes or for a healthy snack.


Delicious and nutritious, blueberries are packed with antioxidants that reduce inflammation and improve overall health. With their deep purple color, these berries are also high in anthocyanins, a protective compound that boosts resistance to viruses and bacteria and reduces inflammation. A diet containing blueberries may slow cognitive decline and boost mental acuity for individuals of all ages, so consume this fruit regularly as a salad topping, part of a fruit salad, addition to a healthy smoothie or alone as a mid-day snack.


These tiny purple gems sometimes bring back childhood memories of foods kids were forced to eat, but that’s a shame. Packed with nitrates and antioxidants, beets remove toxins from the body, boost blood flow and may even help to prevent some cancers. Their brain healthy benefits include boosting oxygen levels to the brain and increasing feel good endorphins in the body that reduce feelings of depression and give an individual extra energy to participate in healthy activity. Try them roasted as a side dish with chicken or fish or paired with goat cheese and raw on salads.

Bone Broth

This simple and flavorful addition to many meals is healing for the gut which many scientists believe is connected to brain health . Chocked full of proline, glycine and other healing amino acids, bone broth improves immune response in the body which may contribute to keeping the brain healthier too. Bone broth is an excellent addition to soups and stews and a wonderful meal choice for seniors with limited appetites or those following a pureed diet.

Dark Chocolate

Maintaining a healthy diet doesn’t mean you have to forgo sweets. In fact, some, like dark chocolate, are actually good for you. The flavonols in dark chocolate have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are related to cardiovascular and brain health. Just keep in mind that a general rule of thumb is the darker the chocolate the better, so make smart choices and enjoy this delectable treat in moderation.

Making the right dietary choices benefits everyone including frail seniors and family caregivers who are often under enormous pressure to meet the needs of their aging loved ones. To make changes in your diet, keep things simple, replacing one item at a time, and remember to keep healthy snacks like some of the items on this list on hand at all times.

If time restrictions or physical and cognitive limitations are preventing you and your senior loved one from following healthy eating guidelines, consider enlisting the help of a professional care provider like Salus Homecare San Gabriel. We offer reliable home care support services including grocery shopping, meal preparation and companionship during meals, making it easier and more enjoyable to eat healthier every day.

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