Mediterranean Diet And Dementia
Evidence shows that a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and cereals, and low in red meat and sugar could help reduce dementia risks.
The best way to reduce your risk of dementia is to adapt various aspects of your lifestyle, including eating certain foods, taking regular exercise, not smoking, and maintaining normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
There is some evidence that eating a Mediterranean-style diet can reduce the risk of developing problems with memory and thinking, and getting some forms of dementia.
Mediterranean diets are traditionally high in fruits, vegetables, legumes and cereals, with moderate consumption of oily fish and dairy, and low in meat, sugar and saturated fat. Most fat in this type of diet comes from olive oil, and alcohol is consumed in moderation with meals. Research in the 1960s showed that men from Mediterranean regions who adhered to traditional diets had lower rates of heart attacks. This prompted continual investigation into the potential health benefits of the diet.
Investigations have shown that this kind of diet is associated with lower levels of stroke, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and death from any cause. They have also shown that sticking to the diet more strictly might be associated with slower rates of decline in memory and thinking.
Reduce your risk of dementia
Other Risk Factors For Dementia
The latest research suggests that other factors are also important, although this does not mean these factors are directly responsible for causing dementia.
The research concluded that by modifying all the risk factors we’re able to change, our risk of dementia could be significantly reduced.
What Are Some Of Your Favorite Plant
I know this sounds typical of a dietitian, but I truly love salads, especially in the summer. There are so many different ways to serve saladAsian salad, César salad, cabbage salad, cucumber and tomato salad, fruit salad. They are so fresh, cool and delicious in the summer time and they are ever changing depending upon what is in season. I try to stay with local produce and base my organic purchases around the Dirty Dozen list. In the winter, I still eat salads, but they are a little heartier, I will add roasted squash or brussels sprouts, nuts and feta to salads for a bit of fall flavors.
SeAnne shared one of her favorite plant-based recipes with us.
Don’t Miss: How To Talk To A Loved One With Dementia
How Can You Prevent Dementia Naturally
There are five strands to Drs Sherzais plan: exercise regularly, reduce stress, improve sleep, challenge and engage the brain, and eat better. In their brilliant book, The Alzheimers Solution, they write:
- Physical exercise increases both the number of brain cells and the connection between them
- Chronic stress puts the brain in a state of high inflammation, causing structural damage and impairing its ability to clear harmful waste products
- Restorative sleep is essential for cognitive and overall health
- Higher education and other complex cognitive activities protect your brain against decline, even late in life
- Social support and meaningful, constant engagement with your community has an undeniable influence on the way your brain age
- Eating meat is bad for your brain. Vegetables, fruits, pulses, grains and healthy fats are what the brain requires to thrive
Fish Helps You Think And Keeps Your Thinking Strong
What did the researchers find? Fish was the single most important dietary factor in lowering the risk of cognitive impairment. Vegetables were second best, and all other foods showed smaller, insignificant effects. Moreover, of all the foods evaluated, only fish was associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline. Eating fish lowered the risk of both cognitive impairment and cognitive decline.
Foods That Help Prevent Alzheimers And Dementia
Just as what you eat can affect your heart, a growing body of research shows its just as important for your brain health.
For example, a recent study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago shows the MIND dieta plan they createdcould lower the chances of developing Alzheimers disease by as much as 53 percent.
Thats significant considering the debilitating effects of the incurable, progressive disease that kills brain cells and their connections, destroying memory and other important mental functions such as finding the way home and recognizing loved ones. According to the Mayo Clinic, more than three million Americans are diagnosed with the condition each year, and it affects people as young as 19 but is typically diagnosed after age 40.
The good news is the diet reduced the risk of Alzheimers by a third, even in people who didnt totally stick to it, researchers found.
Diet seems to be only one of many factors that play into who gets the disease, Nutritional Epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris and the studys lead author told CBS News. Genetics and factors such as smoking, exercise and education also have an impact. But the MIND diet helped slow the rate of cognitive decline and protect againstAlzheimers regardless of other risk factors.
Alzheimers disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.
You also can use these foods to shed pounds. Just be aware of portion sizes. Heres the list:
Green leafy vegetables
Were Not Sacrificing Delicious For Healthy Just Because Its Brain Food
My favorite thing about eating for brain health is how satisfying and delicious it is. If you love food like I do, we are going to have a lot of fun exploring a whole new world of brain healthy ingredients.
If you dont have much time to spend in the kitchen, thats ok too. My recipes are designed to help busy people eat better. Brain Health Kitchen is packed with easy recipes made with brain healthy foods youll want to eat every day.
My mission is to help you reduce your risk of Alzheimers while still eating delicious food.
Don’t Miss: Can Dementia Happen At Any Age
Reducing Your Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease
- keeping alcohol to a minimum
- eating a healthy, balanced diet, including at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day
- exercising for at least 150 minutes every week by doing moderate-intensity aerobic activity , or as much as you’re able to
- making sure your blood pressure is checked and controlled through regular health tests
- if you have diabetes, make sure you keep to the diet and take your medicine
Dietary Supplements May Have Little Effect
According to the experts we spoke with, there is little to no evidence that dietary supplements including fatty acids, vitamin B or vitamin E will reduce cognitive decline or dementia.
Supplements cannot replace a healthy diet, Dr. Mosconi said.
One major study of about 3,500 older adults, for instance, concluded that taking omega-3 supplements, which are often marketed as supporting brain health, did not slow cognitive decline.
When it comes to supplements like fish oil, Dr. Willett said, you dont need to load up like a seal. Instead, Dr. Petersen, of the Mayo Clinic, said, remember this pithy adage: If it comes from a plant, eat it. If its made in a plant, dont eat it.
Read Also: How Do You Spell Alzheimer’s
Foods That Can Fight Dementia And Alzheimers Disease
Dementia and Alzheimers disease are thought to be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors including diet and nutrition. Health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity may also contribute to cognitive decline, and are often affected by the foods you eat. Practicing good nutrition and eating lots of healthy foods is shown to help reduce your risk of dementia and Alzheimers disease as you become older.
Here are 7 foods that can fight off cognitive decline and help you stay healthy as you age:
Dark Skinned Fruits With Antioxidants
Scientists have also been exploring the benefits of antioxidants and there is some evidence that dietary antioxidants may improve cognitive function in patients with Alzheimers and other types of dementia.
- The antioxidants and flavonoids in berries, melon, plums, and oranges have high fiber content and can also help prevent cancer. Another benefit seems to be helping protect cognitive function. Some research shows that women who consume high amounts of berries can delay cognitive aging by as much as 2.5 years.
For example, one study reported on in the Journal of Alzheimers Disease found that an antioxidant may be able to reduce plaques in the brain associated with Alzheimers. Foods high in antioxidants include: berries like raspberries, strawberries, oranges and other dark skinned fruits.
Don’t Miss: When Do Alzheimer’s Patients Die
Dementia Is One Of The Most Common Chronic Diseases Here Are 7 Foods You Should Add To Your Diet If You Wish To Reduce Your Risk Of Developing Dementia
Coffee has been proven to improve cognitive functions
Dementia is a disorder that shrinks the brain and causes brain cells to die. Dementia is one of the most common disorders. This disease causes a gradual fall in one’s thinking, memory, behaviour, and other brain functions. Dementia causes a lack of memory and restricts various other functions in the body. Having Dementia can severely impact everyday life.
Although there are no specific causes that can cause Dementia, studies do mention the significant impact lifestyle and environment might have. Our diet also has a huge impact on our brain and its ability to function properly.
Some studies have shown, that following a Mediterranean Diet may pose very healthy for good brain health. In this article, we discuss foods that may boost brain functions and lower your chances of developing Dementia or other chronic brain-related conditions.
7 foods that may reduce your risk of developing Dementia:
1. Green leafy
Green leafy vegetables belong to the cruciferous vegetable group and mainly constitute broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, and so on. They are considered superfoods as they are packed with various nutrients that benefit the body and brain’s health.
We have grown up listening about the various benefits of nuts on the brain, especially almonds. Dried fruits and nuts are considered superfoods packed with various nutrients. They have been associated with improving cognitive functions in the brain.
3. Fatty fish
Can Diet Prevent Or Slow Down Dementia
We hear so much from the media about what we should or should not eat. One day blueberries are the new so-called superfood that will reduce our risk of developing dementia, the next it is the humble plum.
But what information can we rely on to be accurate? Can the food we eat really reduce our risk of developing dementia? If a person has dementia, can their diet or use of supplements influence how they experience dementia or its progression?
Knowing what and what not to eat is so confusing, the messages seem to change daily!
Person with dementia
The brain requires a regular supply of nutrients in our diet to function and remain healthy. There is growing recognition that what we eat affects the way our brains work and our mental health, as well as our physical health.
Traditionally research undertaken to investigate the connection between diet, cognitive function and risk of dementia has primarily focused on the impact of individual nutrients on brain health. Those nutrients commonly researched include: vitamins B6, B12, C, E and folic acid, as well as omega 3 essential fatty acids. The outcome of such research has been inconclusive and thus guidelines to advise on specific nutrient intakes have not been developed. In this feature well explore some of the ongoing research on this topic.
You May Like: Does Meredith Have Alzheimer’s Gene
What Does The Science Say About The Links Between Diet And Alzheimers
The connection between consumption of the current Western diet and the development of Alzheimers is becoming more evident and the research for making beneficial changes to ones diet is more compelling. It is interesting to note that as other countries develop Western Diet habits, their incidence of Alzheimers goes up as well. Emerging research is just beginning to uncover the dietary influences on this disease. The brain is the most complicated system in the body, connecting every organ and function necessary to live. Because the brain is always on how we fuel it is extremely important. Most of the science related to diet and Alzheimers points to the benefits of eating a plant-based Mediterranean type of diet, similar to what we see recommended for heart disease
Healthy Oils Like Extra Virgin Olive Oil And Coconut Oil
Extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil are said to be beneficial towards fighting the effects of Alzheimers.
The medium-chain triglycerides present in coconut oil increase the level of ketone bodies in the blood, which work as alternative brain fuel and improve cognitive performance.
Extra-virgin olive oil contains oleo can, a phenolic compound that improves the production of key proteins and enzymes that break down amyloid plaques. Therefore, extra-virgin olive oil acts as a neuroprotective mechanism against Alzheimers disease.
While further research is required, there is strong anecdotal evidence for the benefits of both these oils incorporated into your cooking. As little as one tablespoon of coconut oil per day may help to improve cognitive functioning and memory, and
Also Check: Do Brain Games Help Prevent Alzheimer’s
Cognitive Impairment Versus Cognitive Decline
Lets take a moment to unpack these terms. Lets say you want to know what your risk is 10 years from now.
- Cognition is a shorthand way of saying thinking, memory, language, attention, visuospatial, and other mental abilities.
- Your risk of cognitive impairment is the risk that 10 years from now, your cognition will be worse than your peers.
- Your risk of cognitive is the risk that 10 years from now, your cognition will be worse than it is now.
Foods To Avoid If You Have Alzheimers
Fats and alcohol are the main things you should avoid when trying to minimize your Alzheimers risk however, this isnt quite cut-and-dry. With fats, the current research suggests that relative levels of different types of fatrather than actual intake amounts that determine your risk. Keeping your mono or unsaturated fat intake higher than saturated has been shown to improve cognitive function, while the reverse results in worse function. With this in mind, try to limit or eliminate the following in your diet:
- Butter or margarine
- Red meat
- Fried/fast food
With alcohol, two or fewer glasses per day seem to have a protective effect, but more raises your risk instead. It is advisable then that you either keep your drinking to a minimum, or abstain entirely.
Recommended Reading: How To Help Someone With Dementia Remember
Worried About Your Brain
Why am I so worried about your brain? Brain health is an incredibly important issue because of a simple fact: We are living longer than ever before. The baby boomer generationthose born between 1946 and 1964is maturing into older age in record numbers. As these baby boomers get into their 60s, 70s, and 80s, they will create an epidemic of Alzheimers disease. By 2025, one in nine 65-year olds will be diagnosed with Alzheimers disease. Half of all 85-year olds will have dementia. And women are especially vulnerable to a diagnosis of Alzheimers: Two-thirds of all Alzheimers victims are female, as are two-thirds of dementia caregivers.
Foods That Lower Your Risk Of Dementia
One of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of dementia is to change your diet. This is sometimes referred to as the Alzheimers Diet.
There is no sure-fire cure for Alzheimers disease, but healthcare providers have seen patients who have improved cognitively by making lifestyle changes, including their diet. An Alzheimers diet is eating brain-healthy food that can help prevent dementia.
Studies have shown that if this diet is adopted early enough, it may reverse cognitive decline.
To reduce your risk of developing dementia, consider the following in your diet:
Green leafy vegetables have so many antioxidants and phytonutrients. They are also high in folate.
Also Check: How Long Does End Stage Dementia Last
What Is The Mind Diet
There are ten brain-healthy foods you should try to eat:
Just as there are foods that promote and help brain health, there are also foods that are unhealthy. Try to limit these food groups:
We Cook We Learn We Challenge Our Brains
Rebecca Katz roasted ginger salmon with pomegranate olive mint salsa from The Healthy Mind Cookbook.
Well learn why eating a handful of berries a few times a week can lengthen brain life by 2.5 years. Why a spoonful of turmeric a day is good for your brain. How to make a 5-minute breakfast porridge that checks off 4 of the brain healthy food group boxes. And why olive oil just might be the worlds most healthful elixir.
In the coming months Ill share what I learn from luminaries in the field of brain health. Well talk with Dr. Drew Ramsey, a psychiatrist at Columbia University in New York, who uses nutrition as an adjunct therapy to help his patients. Well visit with the MIND diet researchers at Rush University in Chicago, who found a 53% reduction in Alzheimers in their study participants who ate more brain healthy foods. And well pick the brain of fabulous chef and nutrition scientist Rebecca Katz, author of The Healthy Mind Cookbook, to find out what dementia-proofing ingredients she keeps in her culinary pharmacy
Don’t Miss: Is Alzheimer Disease Infectious Or Noninfectious