With age, many people begin to take a more active role in managing their cognitive health. It’s not uncommon for seniors to start looking at their diet as a means to improve their memory and thinking abilities. One food that has been shown to be particularly great at boosting brain health is salmon.
Salmon is linked to a variety of brain benefits, including:
- Enhanced memory
- Reduced cognitive decline
- Improved learning ability
- Lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease
How Salmon Benefits the Brain
Omega-3 fatty acids are what make salmon, along with other types of fatty fish, great for the brain. Omega-3 fatty acids make up most of the brain and help build neurons, making them essential to cognitive health. But what sets salmon apart from other brain-boosting foods is the type of omega-3 fatty acid it contains.
Salmon is packed with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Not only does DHA make up two-thirds of the fatty acids in your brain, but it also protects your brain cells from injury, reduces inflammation, and helps produce neurotransmitters. Unfortunately, this fatty acid decreases with age, and the only way you can rebuild it is through diet.
3 Tips for Seniors Eating Salmon for Brain Health
Salmon is an excellent food for seniors who want to stay cognitively fit, but if you’re planning to incorporate more salmon into your diet, there are a few things to keep in mind.
#1: Stay within the recommended guidelines.
You’ve likely heard the expression, “Too much of anything is never a good thing.” This phrase applies directly to salmon consumption. Salmon contains a small amount of mercury, which is known to harm the nervous system. While a little bit of mercury won’t hurt, consuming too much can cause it to build up in your body and have a negative effect on the brain. When adding more fish to your diet, try not to overdo it. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 8 ounces of seafood per week. Seniors can stay within these guidelines by eating a four-ounce serving of salmon twice a week.
Our residents at The Club at Boynton Beach can expect to see salmon on the menu in our on-site restaurant, of course. And if not, ask for it! Our own Director of Culinary, Carlinz Thelemaque, specializes in meats and is always willing to hear your requests.
#2: Create a balanced meal.
When it comes to eating a healthy diet, balance is key. Make sure to pair your fish with fresh veggies and whole grains. Also, don’t forget to mix it up. It’s impossible to meet your nutrition requirements when you eat the same foods every day, regardless of how healthy they are. Try to incorporate different types of vegetables on your plate, and prepare your fish differently every once in a while.
At The Club, we know that dietary needs differ from person to person. Lori Sokol, RN BC, our Health & Wellness Director, is available to consult with each resident to develop a meal plan. Based on your goals and health needs, we will provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to combine foods for a well-balanced meal.
#3: Be mindful of how you prepare salmon.
The way you prepare your salmon can significantly affect its nutritional benefits. Specific recipes can increase the number of calories, or require ingredients that are high in unhealthy fats. If you want to reap the benefits of salmon, it’s essential to be mindful of the ingredients you use. Try to avoid using too many heavy sauces, and limit the amount of salt you use. Instead, try cooking with healthy alternatives, like olive oil and fresh garlic. Also, be careful about your cooking method. Frying fish in vegetable oil can make it unhealthy instantly. It’s better to use baking, boiling, or grilling methods.
Our manicured courtyard boasts an outdoor grill, so take advantage of the wonderful South Florida weather and prepare salmon precisely the way you like it. You can count on Carlinz to cook the best tasting and healthiest salmon as well. As part of his dedication to our residents’ health, Carlinz does not use salt unless necessary and avoids putting greasy foods on the menu.
A Healthy Diet Supports Overall Health and Wellness
The benefits of a healthy diet extend far beyond improving brain health. The foods you eat can influence your heart health, alter your energy levels, and can even affect your ability to manage chronic medical conditions. At The Club at Boynton Beach, we are committed to helping older adults live their best life. That means providing our Assisted Living and Memory Care residents with an upscale restaurant that serves delicious, healthful dining options. Contact us today to learn more!