Wellness & Nutrition

The connection between diet and dementia – Your right food choices

Diet and dementia
The connection between diet and dementia – Your right food choices

The food that we consume has a significant impact on our life. Just making the right diet choices can cut your risk of many health conditions, including neurodegenerative disorders like dementia. Medical scientists have found the connection between Alzheimer’s (the major reason behind dementia) and diet.

The scientists have recommended DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. The DASH diet is known for its intervention in delaying symptoms of neurodegenerative conditions up to 53% and even helps in preventing it. This blog is all about the best diet for seniors in order to avoid Alzheimer’s, their diet options, plant-based diet, low sodium diet, and protein diet for seniors.

Before that let’s have a simple look into the causes of dementia in seniors and its symptoms in growing adults.

What is dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term used for progressive neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s. It occurs as a result of brain atrophy or a condition that leads to brain cells to die. Alzheimer’s disease tops the chart of most common causes of dementia.

When the older adults are diagnosed with dementia, they suffer from gradual decline in their cognitive and social skills. Behavioral and thinking abilities can decline negatively, affecting their quality of life.

What are the causes of dementia?

The exact cause is still unknown and not fully understood. Scientists concede that various factors and health conditions can lead to brain proteins that behave unnaturally, finally leading to dementia. It is also believed that certain genetic mutations and environmental factors can cause dementia.

What is the connection between food and dementia?

Healthy diet is a must and not a choice.  In fact, there are no significant changes needed in your diet if you want to be healthy. It can remain the same for people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or people who want to prevent it. If your diet is nutritious and if you are taking it in the right quantities at regular intervals, you are all good.

Here are the DASH diet recommendations as to what you can eat and how much you can eat as a senior to avoid neurodegenerative conditions.

What are DASH diet recommendations?

  • Whole grains – Should be an important part in your daily diet for a long run. Take at least 3 servings in a day.
  • Leafy greens – At least one serving of leafy greens and vegetables per day.  
  • Vegetables – At least one serving per day. Consume vegetables of different colors (other than green).
  • Lean Protein – At least once a week. Lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, almonds, and quinoa are better plant-based diet options for lean protein. Chicken and fish are non-plant-based options.
  • Beans – At least three times a week. Soybeans, peas, kidney beans, pinto beans, and navy beans are better options.
  • Nuts – Cashew nuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts at least 3 times a week.

What are the foods that need moderation?

Sometimes, the serving makes all the difference. You need to consume these items in complete moderation and better you need your dietician or doctor’s approval.

  • Butter – If you are a fan of butter, it is time to tame your tastebuds. Ensure you take it less than a tablespoon per day. Instead, take clarified butter which has better health benefits.
  • Cheese – Cheese does more harm than good. Consume only one serving per week to keep health conditions at the bay.
  • Sweets – Sometimes, trying to stop your cravings makes it more intense. Sweet comes in this category. Take sweets in complete moderation. Not more than one serving per week. 

What are the foods that you should completely avoid?

Unhealthy foods remain the same for every type of health condition. Avoiding them helps you reduce your chances of getting chronic health issues. Here are the foods you should avoid.

  • Salty foods – Packaged foods are full of salt and there is enough evidence that indicates salt can hurt your brain in many ways. Reduce its intake completely.
  • Refined Sugar – A single elevation of glucose in the bloodstream can completely change the brain’s chemical equilibrium. Stay away from refined sugar and its products.
  • Fast foods – Fast foods contain excess of every ingredient including spices and salt. Avoid foods that are deep fried, and oily. 
  • Beverages – A can of carbonated beverage contains sugar that takes your entire month’s quota.

What if you have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurodegenerative condition. It means the progress of symptoms takes time and the right lifestyle changes and care can delay the progress of symptoms.

The life at assisted living facilities can be quoted as the best measure for seniors with neurodegenerative conditions. The senior living communities take all the right measures to help elders in their day-to-day activities. They also offer rehab care for seniors, physiotherapy, and the complete medical care by the skilled nursing specialists.

Explore this kind of alternative senior living options if your elders are in search of one. This helps them to have a quality life while slowing down the symptoms. 


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