As we age, we’re all looking for the magic bullet to help keep our brains and bodies as active and sharp as we can for as long as possible. There are pills and vitamins and exercises touting great benefits, but one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to keep your brain in top shape is to take part in summer’s bounty of fruits and vegetables.
It’s no accident that summer’s garden bounty coincides with the Alzheimer’s Association’s awareness campaign through the month of June. A strong push to encourage people to wear purple and practice healthy habits for Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness takes place this month, with a host of activities nationwide. The theme is “The day with the most light is the day we fight.” The summer solstice, the longest day of the year, falls on June 21, and on that day people across the country will fight the darkness of Alzheimer’s with fundraising and awareness campaigns.
You can join in the fight to raise awareness by making changes in your diet to improve brain function. Eating foods loaded with carotenoids plays an important role in brain function, from slowing the aging process to helping prevent dementia. While it can’t reverse or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s, those foods might help delay symptoms.
What are Carotenoids?
Carotenoids are a naturally occurring plant pigment. They’re not something we make in our own bodies, which means they must be obtained from the foods we eat. This pigment is an antioxidant that helps prevent disease and boost your immune system. Research has shown that carotenoids also accumulate in the brain and play an important role in maintaining brain function.
Foods with Carotenoids
Carotenoids are yellow, orange and red pigments produced by plants, algae and several fungi. They can be found in many fruits and vegetables that are commonly grown in farms and gardens right here in the Piedmont:
Leafy greens such as kale and spinach
Find Your Brain Food at Local Farmers Markets
While you can find all of these fruits and vegetables at the local supermarket, it’s much more fun to go out to a local farmers market and pick up something fresh from the garden. You not only get the most ripe vegetables and juicy fruits, but you also get a chance to get out in the fresh air and interact with some interesting people.
Here’s a list of some of our favorite local farmers markets:
Fairgrounds Farmers Market
Saturdays 6 a.m.-noon
Cobblestone Farmers Market
Marshall Street, Winston-Salem
Piedmont Triad Farmers Market
7 days a week, 7-6
Greensboro Farmers Curb Market
Saturdays year round, 7:30-noon
Wednesdays beginning in April, 8 a.m.-noon
Piedmont Home Care Can Help
From helping plan meals to getting out to the farmers market, our caregivers at Piedmont Home Care can help your loved ones take steps to better health. It’s never too late to start eating for better brain health! Introducing more carotenoids into your diet can help maintain brain function. Call today to see how our team can help you.