As a leading provider of hourly and live-in care in Milwaukee, we know that many families are concerned about how their loved ones can maintain memory and cognition with age. While there are many ways to promote mental acuity for older adults, one of the easiest ways to do so is to eat berries! You heard us right – experts have referred to berries as “the new brain food,” a reference to their memory preserving properties and other healthful benefits.
A 2012 study conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that consumption of berries is linked with improved cognitive functions such as thinking, memory, and reasoning skills. The findings, published in the Annals of Neurology, specifically found that women who consumed more strawberries and blueberries than other groups (more than one serving per week of the former and two of the latter) had slowed cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years. In another study that included men as well as women, eating blueberries for 12 weeks led seniors to score higher on a set of tests that examined cognitive function.
How does it work? Berries are rich in antioxidants called flavonoids, which are able to cross the bloodstream into the brain. Strawberries and blueberries are especially rich in a type of flavonoids called anthocyanidins, which tend to increase blood flow to the areas responsible for cognition and memory. Antioxidants also help protect the brain from the formation of free radicals that can damage cells and tissue.In addition to their brain benefits, flavonoids help prevent chronic diseases–including many types of cancer. They are also full of fiber and vitamins A and C, important nutrients for seniors.
For maximum brain-boosting results, encourage your loved one to add a handful of blueberries to their morning cereal or yogurt, or munch on berries as a healthy snack. The effects are healthy not only for the brain, but the entire body. While any type of blueberries (even frozen) will do, wild blueberries have 26 percent more antioxidants than their farm-grown counterparts.
Interested in learning more about senior nutrition and health? Reach out to Milwaukee’s senior home care experts at Home Care Assistance. Healthy eating is a key component in our Balanced Care Method™, a unique approach to senior care that focuses on both an older adult’s physical and emotional needs. Call 414-964-8000 and schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our friendly and knowledgeable Care Managers today.