Jan 06, 2022
Undernutrition among older adults is a big problem – much bigger than most people realize. It can be triggered by a personal loss or change, a sudden medical crisis, or a chronic inflammatory condition. It can result from appetite changes, functional changes, or dental problems. It can happen to people with low incomes or high incomes, to people who are underweight or overweight. It can happen at home, in a nursing home, or a hospital. It is widespread, it often goes unrecognized, and its consequences are vastly underestimated.
Your brain needs a healthy diet just like the rest of your body. The cells in your brain need the nourishment that comes from food. Food provides your body with carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It also offers nutrients such as minerals and vitamins that promote brain health.
A healthy diet is important for a strong brain.
Your brain benefits from nutrients such as folic acid, omega-3, and others found in food. Your brain needs these minerals and vitamins to function properly.
Find out what happens in your brain if you don’t eat enough to provide the nutrients it requires:
You may be worried about losing weight, fitting into your old jeans, or looking great in a swimsuit. These things motivate you to reduce your calories and food intake. However, fad diets and desperate attempts to lose weight can leave your brain without the proper nutrients. This is a dangerous practice that can have long-term consequences.
Avoid skipping entire meals for days or weeks at a time. This type of unhealthy practice throws your entire body into starvation mode and hurts your brain, too.
You can avoid overeating without sacrificing important nutrients. You can healthily reduce calories while ensuring you’re getting enough for your height and age. It may take some extra research when considering a diet, but your brain’s health is certainly worth it. Nutrition is vital to strength, healing, and quality of life. Don't let malnutrition sneak up on the older people in your life. Check-in with them, share a meal now and then, and stay in touch. If you do suspect a problem, don't let it turn into a crisis – act early.