Antioxidants & Brain Health
By Nicole Gould, RDN, CLT
You’re probably familiar with the term “antioxidants” but just how important are they in terms of brain health?
There are many factors that can increase a person’s risk for dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. One major contributor is oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance in the cells and free radicals are in higher quantities than factors that can neutralize them. This results in oxidative stress in which proteins, cell membranes, and DNA are damaged. Oxidative damage contributes to neuronal loss and is recognized as an underlying factor in many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Diet can greatly influence oxidative stress. Oxidized fats, cooked and processed meats, and alcohol can all increase free radicals in the body. But your diet can also provide one of the best defenses against free radicals, antioxidants!
Some of the best antioxidant containing foods are:
- Vegetables: Dark leafy greens, broccoli, red cabbage, artichokes, and colored carrots contain high amounts of antioxidants and other critical micronutrients. They should make up a large part of a healthy diet – especially for someone concerned with brain health.
- Fruits: Where there are natural deep colors, there are antioxidants. Wild blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, pomegranate, and goji berries rank high on the list and should be enjoyed daily
- Herbs and Spices: Herbs and spices aren’t just for flavor. They are a great source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components. Some of the most powerful include rosemary, ginger, turmeric, oregano, cinnamon, and cloves. Make sure to use good quality, organic herbs, and spices, that haven’t been sitting in your cabinet for years.
By including these foods every day, you can fight against oxidative stress and lower your risk for neurodegenerative diseases.
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Every time my family visits each week for their porch visit mom looks FABULOUS! You and your whole organization really understand what to do with the residents and I have seen an amazing change. You are a blessing to our family.
Thank you also for the very touching and beautiful memorial service and luncheon honoring Mom and Dad. It meant a lot to us to have all of you share your remembrances of them.
Marianne & family
We greatly appreciate all that you have done for my Dad and for us. Your compassion, dedication, and gentle ways were a tremendous help. No one ever said to us, “It will be okay,” instead you said “We’ll help you.”
Alzheimer’s and dementia are formidable foes and they strip the individuals stricken of all of their dignity, yet you and your staff work diligently to reinstate the dignity and you do it quite successfully.
This is to thank you and all the Kemper staff who organized the memorial service last Friday. The content was perfectly appropriate and many of the participants expressed compliments to the kitchen staff for the great luncheon.