From Monday’s post – Ernestine Shepherd is 75 years “old,” or better yet “young.” Ernestine took the steps needed to get in shape in the second half of her life.
We covered the socially connected mind, the physically active mind, now we’re sharing information about the nourished mind.
A few key areas of nutrition have recently emerged as particularly promising, including healthy fats like the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), antioxidants and a heart-healthy diet.
According to Dr. Michael Roizen, co-founder of RealAge.com, “DHA omega-3 is a must-have for lifelong brain health. Soymilks, juices, milks, breads, cooking oils, yogurts, eggs, nutrition bars and drink mixes are fortified with DHA from algae, which is where the fist get their DHA. This makes it easier to get your daily dose of DHA.”
Here’s some food for thought:
- Switch out saturated and trans fat for healthier fats like the ones found in olive oil and fatty fish such as salmon or trout
- Maximize your intake of DHA, the omega-3 fatty acid that makes up 50 percent of the brain; if you prefer not to eat fish, look for algal DHA supplements or foods and beverages fortified with algal DHA
- Aim for a varied diet rich in fresh, washed fruits and vegetables with the skin on to maximize the nutritional punch; make sure you’re eating the colorful ones like red grapes, cranberries, blueberries and tomatoes
- A healthy diet is the foundation for heart health as well; manage your weight and keep cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure in check to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease
If we breakdown nutrition among different stages in life we find that good nutrition supports cognition and mental performance, from infants to seniors:
- Children and teenagers can benefit from multivitamins to help support concentration and school performance
- Folate, choline and DHA omega-3 can help pregnant and nursing women ensure that their babies’ developing brains get the nutrition they need
- The B vitamins help improve the mental performance of working individuals
- Seniors may benefit from the carotenoids lutein and β-carotene and DHA omega-3, which are shown to support brain health