What can you do to manage the symptoms of Alzheimer's or dementia?
The purpose of this article is to highlight the important role that a healthy diet can play in managing symptoms associated with dementia and Alzheimer's. We will examine how specific foods and nutrients may reduce or even slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease. We will provide you with research -backed insights, statistics and studies that can help guide your dietary decisions for yourself, or loved ones, who are dealing with Alzheimer's or dementia.
How to Manage Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease with Diet
A healthy diet is essential for managing Alzheimer's or dementia, since several studies link nutrition with brain health. A study in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, for example, found that a Mediterranean diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can maintain brain health, and even prevent cognitive decline. The diet also contains less sugar and red meat, both of which have been linked to an increased risk for dementia.
Diet alone will not cure Alzheimer's or dementia, but it can help to delay the onset of these diseases or their progression. Unbalanced eating habits can cause rapid decline in cognitive function. High intakes of sugar and saturated fats, for example, can cause obesity and diabetes type 2, both of which are linked to dementia.
Getting started: Dietary changes for Dementia and Alzheimer's
Planning is essential when adopting a diet that will help manage Alzheimer's or dementia. Rush University Medical Center has recommended the MIND diet (Mediterranean DASH Diet for Neurodegenerative Delayed), which is based on the Mediterranean-DASH diet. It combines the best of both diets, combining the Mediterranean diet with the DASH. The diet includes specific foods and nutrients which medical literature and research has shown to be beneficial for the brain. These include berries, vegetables with green leaves, vegetables of other colors, beans, grains, legumes, fish and poultry, as well as olive oil, wine, and whole grains.
Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease: Foods that can help manage the disease
- Antioxidants are abundant in berries, which help protect the cells from damage.
- The brain benefits from green leafy vegetables, which are high in folate, calcium and vitamin E.
- These vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals, which improve overall health.
- Nuts are rich in antioxidants and fiber. They can help maintain a healthy mind.
- Beans contain a lot of fiber and protein, which will keep you satisfied and maintain a steady blood glucose level.
- Whole grains are rich in vitamins and nutrients that promote brain health.
- Fish contains omega-3 fats, which are essential for the brain's health.
- Poultry: Chicken and turkey, which are both lean proteins, can maintain blood sugar levels at a stable level for optimal brain functioning.
- Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids that are linked with better brain health.
- Red wine: A moderate consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Regular physical activity, sufficient sleep and cognitive activities such as reading or solving puzzles, can all contribute to the health of your brain. It's also important to avoid excessive drinking and smoking, and stay hydrated. You can manage Alzheimer's or dementia symptoms by having regular checkups, managing chronic diseases (such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes), and maintaining control of these conditions.
While a cure to dementia or Alzheimer's is still elusive, healthy eating can help manage symptoms and slow the progression of disease. Combining a balanced diet with lifestyle changes can improve brain health, and the quality of living for people affected by dementia or Alzheimer's disease..