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:
Fight Alzheimers 15 Foods And Diet Tweaks To Fight Alzheimers And Dementia
Most people understand that a healthy diet is essential for a healthy heart.
But the old adage, You Are What You Eat, might go even further, as evidence increasingly suggests that the same concept holds true for the brain!Recently, a study conducted by researchers at Rush University in Chicago found that individuals who followed the so-called MIND diet could reduce their risk of developing Alzheimers disease and Dementia by 53%.
Top 16 Foods That Lower Your Risk Of Dementia
One of the easiest ways to reduce your risk of Alzheimers and dementia is to change your diet. Sometimes called an Alzheimers diet, eating brain-healthy food can prevent the disease. In the earliest stages, it may even reverse cognitive decline.
What is the best diet for Alzheimers? The best diet for Alzheimers is Dr. Bredesens KetoFLEX diet. This diet encourages a mild version of the keto diet combined with metabolic flexibility. It also promotes 12-hour fasting periods every day, including at least 3 hours fasting before bedtime.
Research has also shown the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay diet reduces the risk of Alzheimers and dementia. This diet is a hybrid between the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension .
Can Alzheimers be reversed with diet? In the earliest stages of cognitive decline, adhering to an Alzheimers diet may reverse cognitive decline. Unfortunately, theres no surefire Alzheimers cure. However, we have personally observed patients whose cognitive decline was reversed after making lifestyle changes, including changing their diet.
Can dementia be reversed with diet? Advanced dementia cannot be reversed with diet. However, the KetoFLEX 12/3 diet shows promise in slowing cognitive decline and early stages of dementia. Avoid most carbohydrates and focus on healthy fats and non-starchy veggies.
- Bok choy
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Reap Big Cognitive Rewards With Even Small Changes
While adhering to the MIND diet might seem daunting at first, the research team at Rush found that even those who only followed its guidelines moderately well saw their risk Alzheimers disease and dementia reduced by about a third!
One of the more exciting things about this is that people who adhered even moderately to the MIND diet had a reduction in their risk for AD, said Rush nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris, Ph.D. I think that will motivate people.
In other words, making just one of or two of the dietary tweaks recommended by MIND could help preserve your cognitive health for years to come!
Science Says These Foods Raise Alzheimers Risk
While Im a fan of red meat, too much of a good thing might increase your chances of Alzheimers. Red meat is an iron-rich food. And though your body needs enough iron to avoid anemia, chronic fatigue and muscle weakness, too much iron can actually speed up damage created from too many;free radicals;unleashed in our;bodies.
As the iron builds up in the brain, it does so in an area known as gray matter, a part of the brain that shows;one of the;first;signs of degeneration as we age. Too much iron in that area seems to speed up the process even more.
That doesnt mean saying goodbye to hamburgers and steaks, but rather being mindful of how much youre eating a week and choosing the best quality, grass-fed beef;available is key.
Refined Carbohydrates &;Sugars
If you needed another reason to stay away from starchy pasta and breads, heres one. Diets high in carbohydrates and sugar can raise your risk of Alzheimers disease.
The theory behind why carbohydrates, which are often loaded with sugar , affect the brain so strongly is that carbs raise glucose and insulin levels rapidly, causing a blood sugar spike. Eventually, that can lead to insulin resistance over time.
A 2014 study first examined the role of AGE in mice. After feeding the creatures three different types of diets ;one low in AGEs, one high in AGEs and a normal diet ;those mice who were eating the least amount of AGEs enjoyed improved cognitive function.
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Should You Try The Mind Diet For Weight Loss Or Brain Health Benefits
The MIND diet may differ from other diets in that its not for weight loss. But the results of this diet will be positive if youre looking to reduce the risk of Alzheimers disease and protect your brain.
Keeping up with this diet does take planning and determination. But dont get discouraged if you fall slightly off track. You dont have to stick rigorously to the diet to enjoy the health benefits.
Todays Tips For Adding Flavonols:
- Replace a daily cup of coffee with a cup of green tea, or add a cup of green tea to your day.
- Make at least one meal a week meatless. Substitute beans or lentils for the protein.
- Add a super fresh flavonol side to your meal. Plate together fresh spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, oranges and pear slices.
- Make a flavonol infused bowl of soup. Combine cannellini beans, olive oil and fragrant flavors like onion and garlic. Toss in broccoli, spinach, kale and a can of tomato sauce. Simmer until hot and enjoy with a fine glass of wine.
- Put this flavonol list on your fridge and eat one food off the list for each meal.
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Be Patient While Trying To Help Someonewith Dementia Not Eating
Trying to convince a person living with dementia who is at the point of not eating, that they must eat is counterproductive. Trying to explain why is also detrimental.
You need to be the food guide. Your role as the guide is to show this person how to eat each and every bite, just like its the first time they have ever eaten. Keep using strong eye contact and a nice big smile and not disrupt the person by talking.
It can be frustrating when you are trying to help someone and it is not working as effectively as you may hope. Its like teaching a child to tie their shoelaces, or of course, to eat their vegetables!
They will watch how you do it and slowly copy, but if you dont show them a demonstration they are not going to be able to learn. If you find yourself becoming agitated, take a deep breathe, and have another try.
If your relative with dementia becomes agitated or frustrated in the afternoon and evening, this may be due to ‘sundowning’. Find out more about what it is and how you can manage it from our sundowning guide.
Easy Breakfast Recipe To Improve Your Brain Health
Make it easy for your brain to be healthy by eating the foods your brain needs to function well. Aim for including more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, fish, and healthy fats in each meal.
An easy breakfast to start your day off right is a homemade nut-based granola served with berries and Greek yogurt.
Heres what youll need:
- ½ cup of walnuts
- ½ cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- ¼ cup of pitted dates
You can put all the ingredients into a food processor and process until it holds together well, or chop finely and mix in a bowl. The nut-based granola can be stored in the fridge for a week.
This recipe Makes an excellent breakfast served with ½ a cup of fresh or thawed berries and a scoop of Greek yogurt!
This breakfast recipe will help you feel full for hours while providing your brain with the healthy fat it needs from the nuts and coconut, phenomenal flavor, and a good dose of polyphenols from the cocoa and berries. All mixed together with another healthy fat from the Greek yogurt and a super-sized helping of probiotics.
Keeping your brain healthy is essential for your enjoyment of life and eating healthy is one of the most important lifestyle factors for improving brain health. Eating for your brain health can and should be delicious and enjoyable.
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What Inspired Your Personal Interest In The Link Between Diet And Aging Specifically Alzheimers
I have always focused my dietetics practice and research on prevention. I truly believe that food is medicine and try to instill this message into my students. I had been researching the diets of centenarians with my partner Sue Linja, a gerontology dietitian and we started noticing trends in these 100 year olds, specifically, most of them were incredibly sharp. Both Sues mom and my mom developed Alzheimers Disease, so naturally our research segued into the study of brain health and prevention. This disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the US and if there is a way that we could help prevent this we wanted to contribute. We compiled our observations and current research related to nutrition and brain health and published a book called The Alzheimers Prevention Food Guide. So, I suppose what inspired us, was the struggle we saw our mothers go through.
What Do We Know About Diet And Prevention Of Alzheimer’s Disease
Can eating a specific food or following a particular diet help prevent or delay dementia caused by Alzheimers disease? Many studies suggest that what we eat affects the aging brains ability to think and remember. These findings have led to research on general eating patterns and whether they might make a difference.
The Mediterranean diet, the related MIND diet , and other healthy eating patterns have been associated with cognitive benefits in studies, though the evidence is not as strong as it is for other interventions like physical activity, blood pressure and cognitive training. Currently, researchers are more rigorously testing these diets to see if they can prevent or delay Alzheimers disease or age-related cognitive decline.
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Omega 3 And Oily Fish
Omega 3s essential fatty acids have an important part to play in the structure of our brain cells, helping to maintain the health and functioning of our brain. Research undertaken as part of the Older People And n-3 Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid study supported the view that eating oily fish is associated with better cognitive function in later life, but recommended further work to clarify the impact of these essential omega 3 oils on the brain .
We need omega 3 oils from food as they cannot be made efficiently by the body. Oily fish is a rich source of omega 3s essential vitamins and minerals and it is recommended that we have at least one portion of oily fish a week. Guidelines vary though according to the individual see the Food Standards Agency website, www.eatwell.gov.uk/healthydiet/fss/fats/ for further information. Omega 3 oils may also be found in vegetarian sources such as linseeds, rapeseed oil, walnuts and soya beans.
The European Commission-funded LipiDiDiet project is researching the impact of omega 3 and other key nutrients on the risk of developing Alzheimers disease and vascular dementia. Results should be available in 2015. For more information go to www.lipididiet.eu
Whats Good For Your Heart Is Good For Your Brain
Dr. Marc Agronin, Alzheimers researcher and author of The Dementia Caregiver, explained that a basic rule of thumb is that whats good for your heart is good for your brain.
What we eat over our lifetime has a dramatic impact on our health and risk for many diseases, including dementia, said Agronin.
He said a diet weighted toward healthy foods can help. These foods include:
- olive and nut oils
- whole grains and legumes
- less highly processed sugars and red meats
Eating healthy is essential for controlling weight, glucose, and cholesterol levels which are key risk factors for both cardiovascular and cerebrovascular health.
According to Lonsdorf, Research on overall diet is still in early stages, however, the following are associated with lower risk: Mediterranean diet, DASH diet , the MIND diet , and the Anti-inflammatory diet.
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The Risks And Benefits Of The Mind Diet You Should Know
The most obvious and promising benefit of the MIND diet is the possibility of significantly reducing the risk of Alzheimers disease.
To help establish a relationship between the MIND diet and this lower risk, the 2015 study conducted at Rush University in Chicago which has been nicknamed The MIND Diet Study evaluated the incidences of Alzheimers disease among 923 participants who were already closely following the MIND, the DASH, and the Mediterranean diet over a five-year period.
Power Foods For Brain Health
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 generation those born between 1946 and 1964 is 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.;
Alzheimers disease threatens to be the biggest health challenge our country has every faced.
Certain Types Of Fish
Eating fish can enhance memory and boost brain health, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Omega 3 fatty acid, in particular present in fish, helps to maintain a fully functional brain.
Salmon, herring, sardines, and anchovies are heavy in omega 3s.
They also contain selenium, potassium, B vitamins, and magnesium, which also help in the war against dementia.
Fish like salmon and tuna are also known to a healthy heart, which is also essential for preventing dementia and cognitive decline. It is okay to eat fish at least once or twice a week.
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Ingredients Of The Mind Diet
The MIND diet focuses on plant-based foods linked to dementia prevention. It encourages eating from 10 healthy food groups:
- Leafy green vegetables, at least 6 servings/week
- Other vegetables, at least 1 serving/day
- Berries, at least 2 servings/week
- Whole grains, at least 3 servings/day
- Fish, 1 serving/week
- Olive oil
The MIND diet limits servings of red meat, sweets, cheese, butter/margarine and fast/fried food.
*Be careful about how much alcohol you drink. How the body handles alcohol can change with age. Learn more about alcohol and older adults.
Some, but not all, observational studies those in which individuals are observed or certain outcomes are measured, without treatment have shown that the Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower risk for dementia. These studies compared cognitively normal people who ate a Mediterranean diet with those who ate a Western-style diet, which contains more red meat, saturated fats and sugar.
Evidence supporting the MIND diet comes from observational studies of more than 900 dementia-free older adults, which found that closely following the MIND diet was associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimers disease and a slower rate of cognitive decline.
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.
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