Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chapel Hill Senior Care - The Effects of Nutrition on Memory

By:  Todd Palmer

Chapel Hill Senior Care - A well-rounded diet is an important aspect of health for seniors, as the foods that elderly individuals consume directly impact their ability to carry out a wide range of functions—including making, storing, and recalling memories. As a result, it is incredibly important that your elderly loved one receives the proper nutrition in order to keep their cognitive function capabilities as strong as possible. Here are a few things to remember about nutrition and how it can impact a person's memory:[1]
  • When seniors skip meals their bodies are not receiving the vitamins and minerals they need. When this happens, their bodies may find it difficult to regulate the neurotransmitters that are released throughout their many systems—and that play a crucial role in memory. Choline and thiamin are just two of many substances that seniors need to keep their brains running properly.
  • Low carbohydrate diets can ultimately result in memory loss due to the fact that glucose, which is used as a fuel by the brain, is reduced drastically. Carbohydrates are converted into glucose after they are digested and this glucose powers cells, including brain cells. As such, it is important that seniors get the right amount of the right carbohydrates, meaning that they should eat complex carbohydrates instead of the simple variety. Whole grains are a wonderful dietary source of complex carbohydrates and can be added to virtually any meal.
  • Running a high calorie deficit (which, simply put, means not eating enough) can also interfere with memory. In this case, short-term memory can become impaired if enough calories are not consumed over the course of the day.
As you can see, a well-rounded, healthy meal plan is essential in keeping your senior's memory as strong as possible. Because of today's fast-paced lifestyle, though, you may not have the time to see to it that your elderly loved one has access to the foods they need. As such, it is a good idea to consider whether or not the assistance of a home care professional (or the transition from aging in place to a nursing home, assisted living facility, or other elder care community) would prove beneficial for your loved one. 


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