Brain Food


Good nutrition promotes brain health and helps prevent chronic diseases

Eat Right Ontario

Making healthy lifestyle choices is important for your wellbeing as you get older.  Eating well, being physically active, managing your stress and keeping your brain active are great ways to keep your brain healthy.  A healthy brain also improves your ability to enjoy life while helping reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

Vitamins and minerals from food sources keep your brain healthy

Choose nutrient-dense foods. As you get older, you may find your appetite isn’t as big as it used to be. It is important to make sure that the foods you eat are high in nutrients.  These are known as nutrient-dense foods, because they provide a lot of vitamins and minerals with few calories.  Vegetables, fruit and whole grains are examples of nutrient-dense foods. These keep your brain and body healthy and help reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Choose foods over supplements

Some research suggests vitamin and mineral supplements may help maintain and improve brain function as you get older.  However, not all supplements will be helpful.  Speak with your doctor or healthcare professional before taking supplements.

Nutrition is important for your brain

Enjoy a variety of foods to keep your brain and body healthy. Canada’s Food Guide has specific recommendations for people 51 years of age or older. These recommendations maintain and support brain health.  For older adults, this means:

  • 7 servings of vegetables and fruit

Make a rainbow of colors on your plate, emphasizing green like avocado and broccoli, orange and yellow like squash, cantaloupe and peppers, and red like red grapes and tomatoes every day. Don’t forget your blues and purples like blueberries and cabbage or whites and browns like bananas and cauliflower to make this colorful picture complete.

  • 6-7 servings of grains

These are an essential food group for the brain! Grains are rich in carbohydrates. Our brains use carbohydrates for energy. Choose whole grain varieties more often like whole wheat whole grain bread, barley, oats or quinoa. Grains are excellent sources of essential vitamins and nutrients.

  • 3 servings of milk and alternatives

Choose lower-fat varieties by comparing the nutrition information between products.  There are low fat milks (skim, 1% and 2%), soy beverage, yogurts and cheeses available.

  • 2-3 servings of meat and alternatives

Include beans, lentils and tofu more often.  Select lean fish like salmon, and meats like chicken and turkey without the skin.

To learn more about general nutrition and aging, visit the following resources:

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