Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
Eating Healthy: Memory Foods and Farm to Table
Sarah Edwards, RDN
Dale Simmons, Dining Services Director
Porter Hills Dining Services
Watch the WZZM13 Senior Wellness segment on this topic.
Foods to keep your mind sharp:
As we age the risk of developing Dementia, a general term for a decline in memory and thinking skills that affects everyday life, increases. Alzheimer’s is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder and accounts for 60% to 80% of Dementia. Dementia can affect your ability communicate, understand language, ability to focus, memory, reasoning and judgement, and visual perception.
Currently there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s, however researchers have identified several lifestyle factors that may affect the risk of development as well as the progression of the disease. A recent study published in the Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association that a heart-healthy diet focused on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish could reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 53%. Just moderate adherence to the diet resulted in a 35% decrease in risk. This diet is not a cure, but it should be considered along with healthy lifestyle changes.
10 Good Mind Foods:
- Berries (blueberries and strawberries)
- Green, leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, arugula, Swiss chard, etc.)
- Olive Oil
- Other vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, green beans, etc.)
- Whole grains (oats, brown rice, quinoa, farrow, etc.)
- Wine (a single glass)
Foods to avoid:
- Butter and stick margarine
- Fried or fast food
- Pastries and sweets
- Red meat
Farm to table:
“Farm to table” means that the food served came directly from local farmers, without going through the stores. By partnering with local farmers for items such as produce, meat, cheese, and eggs companies are able to give back to their community. The farmers are able to reap more profit for their goods and the food service location is able to serve fresh foods within hours of being harvested.
Benefits of farm to table Foods:
- Healthier food: produce has time to ripen on the vine and does not require the use of chemicals to protect from spoilage during transportation.
- Environmental Sustainability: by simplifying the system to direct delivery the amount of diesel fuel for delivery is significantly reduced.
- Positive Impact on Local Farms: this movement cuts down on the amount of food being delivered across hundreds of miles and encourages putting money back into the local businesses and farms.
- Improved Animal Welfare: the movement focuses on buying from local, family-owned farms that treat their animals well. The farms provide them with proper food and housing while also using sustainable practices.
- Better Business: Most often restaurants are the leaders for introducing farm to table meals. Food service operations of all kinds are utilizing the fresh, local foods for their menus as well.
What is Porter Hills doing?
Porter Hills Dining Services Department has created a six-week menu cycle that changes with each season. This menu incorporates the MIND foods and fresh local ingredients into each day of the cycle. With a focus on more fish and poultry, particularly gilled or baked, and using more whole grains and dark, leafy greens these menus encourage residents to make healthy eating choices. The Dining Services Department uses produce from local farms as well as growing organic herbs and vegetables on site while ensuring that fresh fruit is available every day. Canned fruit packed in corn syrup is being eliminated from the pantry and is being replaced with fruit packed in fruit juice.
The biggest challenge with the change in menu is the age and demographic of our residents. Most of the residents of Porter Hills Village fall into the 80 – 100 year old range and have preferences for the “old comfort foods.” Some of the residents would like canned fruit packed in corn syrup, fried food, and processed foods. To provide balance the menus are designed with some of those comfort foods that the residents request. The Dining Services Department is always looking for new recipes and requests from the residents to add to the menus.
These challenges are likely to change as the baby boomers begin to filter into the Porter Hills Village as residents. This generation is more interested in healthy eating and lifestyle habits. Even the comfort foods will change while diversifying the varieties of foods in the menu. Porter Hills Dining Services will continue to change to meet the needs and desires of our residents.
Interested in life at a Porter Hills Community? Come on in for lunch and a tour! Please call our Sales Office at 616-942-6221.
Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet. (2017, August 03). Retrieved August 04, 2017
Danahy, A. (2017, January 11). MIND Diet: 10 Foods to Feed Your Brain. Retrieved August 04, 2017
Dementia Signs, Symptoms, & Diagnosis. (2017). Retrieved August 07, 2017
Di Fiore, N. (2017). Diet May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s. Retrieved August 04, 2017
Morris, M. C., Tangney, C. C., Wang, Y., Sacks, F. M., Bennett, D. A., & Aggarwal, N. T. (2015). MIND diet associated with reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s & Dementia,11(9), 1007-1014. Retrieved April 07, 2017
Newnam, J. (2011, August 11). Farm to Table and the Local Food Movement. Retrieved August 08, 2017
Watson, M. (2017, May 05). What Farm-to-Table Really Means. Retrieved August 08, 2017