Living with aging parents suffering from dementia can be a tough time for all members of the household. It’s something a lot of people are dealing with, as the World Health Organization estimates that over 50 million people in the world currently suffer from the condition.
Aging Parents previously touched on the fact that there are certain things you have to adjust so the quality of life of everyone living with a demented person improves. Another smart way of helping people suffering from dementia is changing their diet because there are great food choices that can boost brain and memory health.
A gradual and long process
Changing the diet of your parent/s is a long-term commitment. Gradually replacing some food groups with healthier counterparts is a great way to ease them into the new meal plan. The Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay or MIND diet is a popular meal plan to follow. As its name implies, it is derived from the Mediterranean diet and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH). They all serve the purpose of delivering brain-friendly food to the table, according to a feature on dementia by Patient.info. Here are some tips to incorporate these types of food:
• Avoid processed food – Alzheimers.net explained that processed meat contains nitrosamines, which increase fat in the liver that are toxic to the brain. So the diet’s focus must be on vegetables and whole grains. Leafy greens like kale, spinach, and broccoli have been found to have nutrients that support better memory function.
• Eat more fish and less dairy – Salmon and other cold-water fish are great examples. Try to avoid processed cheese as they cause protein build up in the bloodstream linked to memory loss.
• Switch to extra virgin olive oil – Extra virgin olive oil contains a substance which helps boost the production of proteins and enzymes that break down plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Try preparing meals with this ingredient, which works best with salads.
• Berries and dark-skinned fruits as go-to snacks – If they’re craving for a light snack, a bag of berries is great because they are rich in antioxidants. Free radicals affect every part of the body, including the brain, and food rich in antioxidants fights these harmful molecules.
• Cut out beer – Older people digest alcohol differently, meaning the safe intake levels might have gotten lower. Research also shows that beer contains nitrites which are harmful to the brain. Regulating their drinking habits or stopping it entirely will be immensely beneficial.
How eating healthy can help
CBS News reported on a study conducted at Rush University Medical Center, where participants were asked to follow the MIND diet. The results turned out to be promising: the participants’ risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease decreased by 53%. This study shows that diet plays a huge factor in avoiding dementia or how affected people can cope with it.
Taking the necessary adjustments for better brain health will be something even you can benefit from. After all, continuing to eat healthily will not just boost brain health but overall health, which is good news for everyone in the family.
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