As we say farewell to pandemic-plagued year 2020, and we embark on baby New Year 2021, I want to emphasize how important it is that we promote our best physical and mental health through a nutritious, balanced diet featuring fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains.
Of course, I always begin a new year with the resolution and goal of eating better and shedding a few pounds, but considering the turmoil that COVID-19 has caused in 2020, I am even more driven to maintain my health and sanity with foods rich in vitamins and nutrients, one of which is folic acid.
Folic acid, or folate, can be especially beneficial for seniors. Studies have shown improvements in mental agility and cognitive function when seniors consume the recommended daily allowance of folic acid, and that’s not all!
Seniors recognize 6 benefits with an increased folic acid intake:
- Improved mental agility and cognitive function. According to Senior Living Experts, “It has been suggested and studied that folic acid is closely-linked to memory. With the majority of seniors over the age of 80 displaying some symptoms or signs of dementia, eating a balanced diet that includes the recommended daily allowance of folic acid may help prevent memory-loss, forgetfulness, and even aphasia.”
- Reduced risk of anemia. With the proper intake of folic acid each day, red blood cell counts will be strong enough to battle anemia and the symptoms thereof.
- Reduced risk of developing hearing loss and Alzheimer’s. Medical News Today reports, “Some research studies have linked folic acid supplement taking with reductions in various age-related impairments such as hearing loss and Alzheimer's. Others are not so clear, but there seems to be consensus that it helps improve cognitive function in elderly people with high concentrations of the amino acid homocysteine in their blood, which could indicate increased risks of stroke, heart disease and Alzheimer's.”
- Healthier aging with daily folic acid. Senior Living Experts continued, “Exciting new research is showing that dementia symptoms may be lessened and improved with a daily diet rich in folate, or folic acid supplements per your physician’s recommendation. Seniors seem less anxious, less agitated, and more able to focus than those that do not get enough folic acid daily. Talk to your geriatric provider about whether your senior’s symptoms may be an indicator of low folate levels.”
- Regulated appetite and improved digestion. Folic acid helps the body digest proteins and metabolize amino acids more efficiently. Folate has also been credited with regulating appetite, which can be a critical issue with seniors.
- Regulated blood pressure. Studies have shown that a diet rich in folic acid, that includes lots of salads, fresh produce and legumes, regulates blood pressure, especially in women.
The following is a list of foods that contain folic acid:
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Tomato juice
- Green leafy vegetables, like spinach
- Dried beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Some organ meats, such as liver or kidneys
- Fortified cereals
- Seeds, like sunflower
- Wheat bran
- Yeast extract
I hope this sheds some light on a seldom-recognized B-vitamin that does the body good! During National Folic Acid Week, January 4-10, do a self-assessment of your own dietary intake of folate, and find folic acid-rich foods you enjoy to include in meals and snacks. As always, remember to consult with your primary care physician before making changes with your diet or supplements.
If you or a senior you love needs assistance with grocery shopping, meal planning and preparation, please contact me. I offer a FREE consultation to assess and match the perfect, compassionate caregiver who would be happy to help!
We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award for 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020. We proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠ 727.942.2539
Medical News Today
Senior Living Experts