Even More Reasons to Eat Your Vegetables!
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that aging happens. In fact, we age every minute of each day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a pessimist, but a realist when it comes to health. One of the big changes that often come with aging is memory loss.
Combating age-related memory loss with fruits and vegetables
So, it really sparked my interest to read a recent study about food and brain health, that suggests that produce may maintain cognitive function.1 What? Eating fruits and vegetables can boost brainpower? I’m all in for that!
The benefits of flavonoids for brain health and more
The study showed that higher intakes of fruits and vegetables reduced cognitive decline due to their content of flavonoids.1 Flavonoids are naturally occurring chemicals that give produce their pigmentation or brightness of color. Carotene, flavone, anthocyanin are examples of flavonoids. The top-rated fruits and veggies to exhibit positive effects on brain health were brussels sprouts, strawberries, winter squash, and raw spinach.
While this study was an observational study, it’s important to note that foods high in flavonoids also have been shown to help manage high blood pressure and reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke.1 Plus, we know that fruits and vegetables are packed with important vitamins and minerals to promote good health.
How to increase your fruit and vegetable intake
With all the good things produce can do for our health, do not forget to add fruits and veggies into your daily diet! There are many ways that you can include more fruits and vegetables into your eating plan.
Eat fruits or vegetables with every meal
- Add baked sliced apples sprinkled with cinnamon and a low-calorie sweetener to your morning yogurt.
- Have a mid-day snack of celery, carrots, and sliced bell pepper with a dip that contains 2 grams of carb per serving or less.
- Prepare two vegetables at your dinner meal, which can be a salad and a cooked vegetable like broccoli, carrots, green beans, or cauliflower.
Use different preparation methods
Have you ever tried a grilled romaine lettuce salad? Stir-frying with oils like olive oil or sesame oil gives vegetables a delicious new flavor. If you aren’t a vegetable lover, you can try adding a “meaty” flavor by cooking your vegetables in chicken or beef broth.
Try a new fruit or vegetable recipe every week
Trying new recipes is a trick so you don’t get bored with eating the same food repeatedly. Pick a recipe that has the nutrition information included so that you know how to fit it into your meal plan.
Shop in-season or use canned or frozen produce
You know that fresh fruits and vegetables are seasonal, but if you have a hankering for a fruit or vegetable that is not in season look for a canned or frozen option. When buying canned fruit, choose fruit packed in its own juice. When purchasing canned vegetables, choose no added salt varieties if you have high blood pressure.
There are tons of delicious foods for brain health that you can incorporate into your daily life to help slow the progression of age-related memory loss!
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