Nutrition for brain health

January 10, 2024 • Brain health

Asian Lady With Salad SmGood nutrition is important at every age, but getting older can make it hard to get the right kinds of food that our bodies need. In fact, we find as we age, our bodies do not absorb minerals and nutrients as well as they used to, and our metabolism slows down. Individuals may notice not needing to eat as much or may experience lower energy levels. Because of this, it is important that we ensure a diet full of various nutrients as we age. This is even more essential for people who are working to manage or avoid diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Eating right does not only impact our physical health, but it also affects our brain health! Our brain uses up to 30% of the energy we eat, signifying how valuable food is for our brain. Even more, our gut health, which is determined by what we eat, can even influence our brain because of something called the gut-brain axis. Now that’s some food for thought! Plus, eating poorly can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias since these diseases are linked to health of our blood vessels. If we eat foods high in fat and sugar, it reduces the amount of blood that can pass through our blood vessels. And considering our brain requires 20-25% of our blood supply to work well, we must mindfully eat to keep the blood flowing to the brain.

Understanding the nutritional needs of older adults is an important concept for both the brain and body. We will look at four main parts of healthy living: good nutrition, staying hydrated, eating with others, and being active.

Key food choices

A good diet includes a variety of foods that are full of vitamins and minerals, with less processed and sugary stuff. Because it is best to get our vitamins and minerals from our foods, it is important to talk to a doctor before taking supplements. Our diet should have:

  • Proteins: Choose lean meats, seafood, and legumes.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Eat more of them and try to have a colorful plate.
  • Fewer Sugary Foods: Pick a preferred fruit when you want something sweet.
  • Healthy Diets: Consider diets like the Mediterranean or MIND diet.
  • Nutrient-Rich Foods: Eat foods with antioxidants, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.


Drinking enough water is essential for our bodies to work properly. As we age, we might not feel as thirsty but still need to drink enough. Water, milk, or herbal teas are good choices. You should drink water when you feel thirsty. The amount of water we need can vary, especially if we have health issues, so it is best to ask a doctor if you are unsure.

Social eating

Eating with others is about more than just food. It can make us feel less lonely, improve our mood, and even encourage us to eat better and cook at home. Sharing meals can also strengthen our social ties and traditions.


As mentioned in our Physical Activity blog, being active helps maintain muscle and bone health and helps our bodies use the nutrients we eat. Do not forget- Always check with a healthcare provider before starting a new exercise routine.


For more information on this topic, you can explore additional resources.