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Brain Healthy Nutrition at The Kensington Redondo Beach with Chef Annie Fenn, MD

The best way to support your senior loved one’s brain health nutrition and overall health is to help them maintain a healthy diet. 

To help caregivers learn more about brain health and nutrition, The Kensington Redondo Beach was pleased to host an interactive and informative cooking class in August.  

In this two-part cooking series, “Caregiving Cooking Classes,” Chef and MD Annie Fenn, Founder of Positive Aging Community, will teach you delicious recipes and the connection between nutrition and cognitive health. Click here to watch her series with Kensington Senior Living!

Continue reading to learn more about how important nutrition is for the brain, which diets are healthiest for the brain, and where to find assisted living and memory care communities that offer quality dining services. 

How important is nutrition for the brain?

Taking care of the brain is essential to living a comfortable and healthy life. 

A healthy diet will include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, nuts, and olive oil. 

Those who follow a western-influenced diet, full of processed foods, sugars, and saturated fats, are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other diseases and health problems. 

Due to the overconsumption of unhealthy diets and lifestyles, Alzheimer’s disease has become the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. 

The best way to avoid neurodegenerative diseases, heart disease, and other health troubles is by following a healthier diet with brain-boosting foods, which can slow brain aging down by 7.5 years.

The Kensington Redondo Beach and Annie Fenn take brain health seriously, which is why we want to help our caregivers and their families learn how to live a healthier and better life by eating the right foods. 

In our communities, we ensure that our residents eat the most nutritious and delicious foods with only the best ingredients and accommodate specialty diets.  

What is a brain diet?

A brain diet supports the brain’s health and fights off diseases, illnesses, and aging. 

While no single food can prevent aging or cognitive decline, following a healthy dietary pattern and healthy lifestyle can.

Your senior loved one can improve their cognitive abilities, memory, concentration, and mood, by eating foods with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant health benefits, like blueberries, strawberries, kale, sweet potatoes, or broccoli.

The brain is the control center of the body, and everything put into the body affects the brain and the outcome of one’s health. 

Researchers have discovered that gut microbiomes, which are viruses and bacteria found in the digestive system, can influence the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Studies have found a brain-healthy diet includes certain foods rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, flavonols, polyphenols, and omega-3 fatty acids. 

Which diet is healthiest for the brain?

There are multiple diets that your senior loved one can follow to keep their brain healthy. 

Three of the most popular and beneficial diets for the brain include the Mediterranean diet, DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, and the MIND (Mediterranean-Dash Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) Diet. 

Mediterranean diet 

If you’re interested in your senior loved one following this diet, ensure their meals are built around whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fresh fruits, and beans. 

While plant-based foods are emphasized, your loved one can up their fish intake to several times a week and red meat on occasion. 

You can use olive oil, seeds, herbs, and spices when preparing your loved one’s meals. 

DASH diet 

The DASH diet is less strict than the Mediterranean Diet. Your loved one will eat the same healthy foods while being able to eat lean meats and red meats more often and sugary foods and sweets up to five times a week. 

The health benefits of this diet also include lowering blood pressure. 

MIND diet

This diet is a hybrid of the DASH and Mediterranean that focuses on foods that enhance brain function and protect it from cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases. 

Adults who follow this diet are less likely to develop conditions like Alzheimer’s. 

Those who follow the mind diet will concentrate on eating: 

  • Leafy greens
  • Berries
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Olive oil
  • Fish/seafood
  • Poultry
  • Wine

Foods to avoid or eat seldomly while on this diet are butter, cheese, red meat, fried foods, sweets and pastries. 

Before choosing one of these diets for your loved one you should speak with their doctor, to ensure the healthiest choice for them. 

Research suggests link between healthy eating and living, benefits extending to healthy brain aging 

Researchers found that a healthy diet improves neurogenesis and synaptic brain plasticity, which means the brain produces more neurons and neuron connections increase. 

These processes are essential to keep the brain healthy. 

The more neurons and connections that can be made, the better the brain will allow us to learn, think, and improve memory. 

An unhealthy diet leads to cell death, inflammation, and the release of stress hormones. 

Inflammation in the brain affects cognitive function, such as planning, focusing, remembering things, and can lead to major depression or other mental health issues. 

This means that what you and your senior loved one eat affects your well-being and quality of life.

While it’s essential for your loved one to eat a well-balanced and healthy diet, The Kensington Redondo Beach advises caregivers and families to eat healthy to protect their brains and mental health too.

A supportive community and partner in care

The Kensington Redondo Beach is an assisted living and memory care community, located in the South Bay and Beach Cities of Los Angeles County. 

We take great pride in our chef and dining services, as we recognize how important healthy living and a quality dining program are to seniors. 

We priorize brain healthy foods in our daily and seasonal menus, and are approved by licensed dieticians. Kensington Senior Living’s partners are foodies who prioritize quality, delicious meals for our residents. 

It’s common to see residents with their families dining in our communities. All residents and their guests can enjoy complimentary meals anytime they want. Our community is thier home, with the ability to host their friends and families for meals anytime they’d like.

Our Executive Chef

Chef Erwin Torres was born and raised in Guatemala City, and after attending culinary school, moved to the United States in 2008. In 2011, Erwin and his family moved to California to further his career as a chef, where he began working in an assisted living community. He found his true calling in designing meals that not only meet residents’ dietary needs, but also encourage brain and heart health.

Chef Erwin joined The Kensington family at Kensington Place Redwood City in 2015 and was recently promoted to the Director of Dining Services at The Kensington Redondo Beach. Chef Erwin dedicates his spare time with Redondo Beach residents, his wife, and family.

Our Promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own, which is why we offer enhanced services that will allow your loved one to truly age in place. 

Some of our services and amenities include: 

  • Around-the-clock care
  • On-site nurses
  • Rehabilitation services
    • Physical therapy
    • Occupational therapy 
    • Speech therapy 
    • Speciality diets
    • Life-enrichment activities
    • Safe and secure grounds
    • Alzheimer’s care
    • Dementia care
    • A complete spectrum of clinical support 

Contact us to learn more about our two-part cooking series, communities, services, caregiver resources, and upcoming events.

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