A lot of research has gone into nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Researchers agree that a healthy diet plays a vital role in brain health.
WHO (World Health Organization) concluded that adopting a healthier lifestyle can prevent or delay the progression of numerous cases of cognitive decline.
People with Alzheimer’s may miss out on the perks of eating a healthy diet for numerous reasons like:
1. Lack of appetite: elderly people with AD may feel like they do not have an appetite during meal times. This may be a result of medical interactions which cause reduced appetite as a side effect.
2. Confusion with cutlery: Most seniors with AD often experience reduced physical motor skills when they are eating. This is where you might observe a person using a fork to eat soup and so forth.
3. Loneliness: For most seniors, eating is a social activity. If a person is alone they may leave food on their plate because they feel they are missing out on socialization.
4. Filling up with desert: Most people with AD tend to have sweet tooth. They might prefer to eat dessert treats instead of nutritious foods. It may be because taste buds weaken as a person grows older; thus, the reason many may want to fill up on sweet treats.
5. Chewing and swallowing difficulties: Mouth sores or other dental conditions may prevent the suffering person from eating because they cannot chew or swallow the food without any difficulties.
6. Too much on the plate makes a person feel overwhelmed on what to eat first.
Essential Role of Nutrition and Alzheimer’s Disease
Caregivers must identify the reason a person with AD is not eating well.
They should offer a practical solution that will ensure the weak person eats foods that are beneficial to their health.
For instance, if a person has a lack of appetite because of the medicine they are taking, consulting a doctor is the way the go.
The medic may change his or her prescription to more suitable medicines that will not affect appetite significantly.
Going back to nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease, check out information about the foods that should feature in the diet of a person with the illness.
Not just that, but the “bad” foods that persons should avoid.
Does Diet Increase Alzheimer’s Risk?
Unhealthy diets indeed promote a myriad of health problems including cognitive decline.
Scientists, in particular, have studied the “western diet” for years.
These are foods that are not only processed, convenient, and rich in animal products. But they are also high in saturated fats, sodium, cholesterol, total fat, and sugar.
Experts link eating these to the development of diabetes, obesity, and heart diseases.
Consuming a diet that is rich in saturated and trans-fats also increases the levels of the inflammatory response and oxidative stress in the body.
These are factors that contribute to dementia development. This is why it is advisable to cut down on sugar, trans-fats, saturated fats, and total caloric intake.
Foods that May Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Now that you are aware of the foods to eliminate or reduce in your diet, it is time to educate you on the foods that come highly recommended when talking about nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease.
There are a couple of diets that people should focus on whether they already have the disease or not. Some of these include:
The Mediterranean diet (MD) emphasizes the consumption of healthy fats such as olive oil, red meat, fewer dairy foods, legumes, vegetables, margarine or butter, pastries, and sweetened beverages. Some also advise on moderate consumption of wine. A majority of Middle Eastern and European populations follow the MD eating patterns.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood institute came up with the DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diet after there were major concerns about the lifestyle of people in the USA and the high percentages of people developing and living with high blood pressure.
The DASH diet incorporates a lot of components from the MD diet.
Also, the reduction of the consumption of sodium and carbohydrates. This has been known to be successful in the reduction of blood pressure cases.
Neurodegenerative Delay Diet
This is one of the most common diets there is when discussing nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease. It blends some elements of the DASH and Mediterranean diets. It is also known as the MIND diet.
Moreover, it recommends the consumption of green leafy vegetables amongst other veggies, whole grains, poultry, fish, berries, olive oil, nuts, and beans.
The diet also advises that people should eliminate or reduce greatly the consumption of sweets, cheese, fast foods, butter, margarine, and red meats.
A study revealed that sticking to this diet aids in better cognitive aging offering protection against AD.
While discussing nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease, it is also important that people with this illness stay hydrated by drinking enough water during the day.
What about Vitamins and Supplements?
Looking at the current market place, you will notice that many companies are in the front-line marketing various dietary supplements as having the power to treat or prevent cognitive decline.
In most cases, these usually do not have credible evidence that is well documented according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
This said it is important to note that many supplements or vitamins are being studied concerning nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease.
This is because the body needs adequate essential vitamins like Vitamin D, E, B12, and folic acid. They need to be at certain levels in your body because the accumulation of excessive vitamins is not beneficial.
It is best for a person with Alzheimer’s to always talk to a doctor before they begin taking any kind of supplements.
The topic of nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease is not one that you should ignore even when you are not suffering. It is important to identify the foods that should feature in a person’s diet and the ones to avoid.
This may help to prevent the disease from developing or even slow down its progression.
All in all, people should focus on letting the foods they eat become their medicine.