Grow Brain Power in Your Garden this summer

Galena Territory 2013

This was a neighbor’s tree next door to their home in Northern Illinois. Talking to my Father today, I said Dad there are seasons to our lives, and you are in the winter of your life…

In 2016, my aging parents moved closer to me due to their declining health and the fact they no longer could take care of their home in upper Illinois. In our family, it was known there was a syndrome called “white line fever.” It was our excuse when we felt compelled to hit the road! I have talked about it over the years on my blog. My parents were younger than my husband and I when they had my brother and me,  so they were pretty free to travel at a young age. My husband and I are in between taking care of parents and helping with a preschool grandchild. We are sort of overwhelmed at the moment with helping others. We had our children in our late 20’s and early 30’s, so we are older parents.  My husband’s father moved closer to us in 1999.

Both my husband and I have fathers suffering from dementia. My husband’s father is progressing at a slower pace which makes it a bit easier to help him through the stages. He is not passing through them as rapidly as my father. They identified my father’s Alzheimer’s around the time of an injury he suffered in 2013. He was riding with a friend, back in January of 2013 to get some chili and a frosty at Wendy’s one afternoon. My father was 80 yrs old and his friend, Dick was driving. Another older gentleman crossed in their path upon a highway in northern Illinois that sees too many accidents.

Garlic is a powerhouse for health and mind

 My father was the only one to survive, and the crash made the news down here in my area of the state.  It is strange hearing your father ‘s name mentioned as the only survivor in a car accident. I have no idea HOW my father survived the crash. They took him by ambulance two hours to a trauma center that specialized in head injuries. He was bruised all over his body and broke some ribs, but pretty much he walked away from the accident.He spent a month in the hospital and attended therapy.

The doctors said his Traumatic Brain Injury ( TBI)  made his standard aging dementia progress at a faster rate. Last week we have made the decision to place my father in Memory Care. My mother who is declining in her health is unable to be his full-time caretaker. He is wandering and unable to communicate his thoughts. He gets very frustrated, and it is tough to watch. He is losing weight even though he eats a healthy diet.

My father grew a lot of food over the years, and their garden was something they both enjoyed. He put in some tomato plants near his condo last summer, but he was struggling with falling in the yard and confusion at times. My mother is finding it difficult to place my father in memory care, but it is a no-brainer. She has been doing it for 5 years, and it is time. The memory care community he will participate in has only 16 people. It is close to where she lives, and she can visit him each day and take him out. I felt bad when she said, “I will miss our tomatoes this summer” He always grew them for us to use and took great pride in his tomatoes. I thought, well, we can make sure we have some plants growing! They do have a garden for the seniors living in  the community.

grow red peppers

My father and father-in-law that struggle with this got me thinking about what can we do to help keep the crippling effects of Alzheimer’s at bay. Well, A LOT! Research is out there that eating certain foods can contribute to a healthy mind. Yes, what we eat does affect our brain. I bet you did not know that, did you?  You can start growing BRAIN food this summer. Let us grow it together. I do grow many of the foods but there were some that I am not growing. Do get the word out what we eat can keep our minds healthy.  Check the list below, there are many I am sure you grow, too.

Here is a list of some foods you can grow in your Midwest, zone 5 gardens to keep your brain healthy and possibly not get Alzheimer’s as you age.

Basil -chamomile-Cilantro-Horseradish-Lavender-Mint-Parsley-Rosemary-Sage-Thyme-Arugula-Beet greens-Chard-Collard greens-Dandelion Greens-Kale-Napa Cabbage-Spinach-Asparagus-Beets-Broccoli-Brussels Sprouts-Carrots-Cauliflower-Chile Peppers-Cucumbers-Eggplant-

Garlic-Kohlrabi-Leeks-Okra-Onions-Potatoes-Pumpkins-Red Bell Peppers- Red Cabbage-Sweet Potatoes-Tomatoes-Winter Squash-Yams-Zucchini- Apricots- Blackberries-blueberries-Cranberries-Raspberries-Strawberries- Cherries-Grapes-Melons-Plums -Black-eyed peas-Beans-Amaranth-Walnuts

There is a MIND diet that you can read further about at this site (here) I read that if you start implementing these foods in your diet decades ahead of aging, you will help your mind stay healthy and keep Alzheimer’s away. I suggest you start thinking about what you can grow “organically” on your city lot. Happy ” Brain”  Planting!!!