Alzheimer’s disease is a common form of dementia, marked by memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. It typically progresses from mild to severe over several years.
The cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not known but it may result from genetic and lifestyle factors that damage the brain. Risk increases as people get older.
Alzheimer’s disease cannot be cured, but treatments may help to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, people with the condition will eventually need full-time care and support.
There are a number of important nutrition concerns for people with Alzheimer’s disease. As the condition progresses, people may have difficulty preparing meals, chewing and swallowing. They may also lose interest in food and become less active, which can lead to weight loss.
Good nutrition is essential for maintaining physical health and well-being. A healthy diet can help to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and it is also important for managing the condition.
There are a few key nutrients that are especially important for people with Alzheimer’s disease:
It is essential for nerve function and cognitive health. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause memory loss and cognitive decline.
To add these vitamins in your diet you should consider foods such as beef, poultry, eggs, milk, and yogurt.
It is important for brain health and cognitive function. Folic acid deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
You can find folic acid in leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, and fortified cereals.
Omega-3 fatty acids
They are important for brain health and cognitive function. omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna. They are also found in flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
They help to protect the brain from damage. Antioxidants have been shown to help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Antioxidants are found in fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, strawberries, and spinach. They are also found in green tea and dark chocolate.
Follow The Basics
Alzheimer’s disease can be a devastating condition, not just for the person with the disease but also for their at-home dementia caregiver and loved ones. However, there are things that can be done to manage the condition and help improve quality of life. Good nutrition is an important part of this. By focusing on key nutrients and following a healthy diet, people with Alzheimer’s disease can help to improve their physical health and well-being.
Include the following in your diet:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy
- Healthy fats
On the other hand limit/avoid the following mentioned underneath:
- Limit Added sugars and saturated fats.
- Alcohol should be consumed in moderation, if at all.
- Salt should be limited.
- Caffeine should be limited.
Recommended: Physical and Mental Wellness: Why Are Both Important for Your Wellbeing?
Healthy Eating for Individuals with Dementia
The Internet is flooded with information on how various vitamins and minerals can help prevent or even reverse dementia, at this time the research is limited. However, if an individual has a vitamin or mineral deficiency, a supplement may be recommended. Some vitamin deficiencies are associated with memory problems and improve after they’ve been diagnosed and treated.
The research on specific foods and eating patterns for reversing dementia is limited. However, there is some research that suggests certain eating patterns may play a role in preventing or delaying the onset of dementia. The Mediterranean diet, DASH diet and MIND diet have all been studied for its role in prevention of dementia with some promising results. At this time, more research is needed to understand the preventative effects of these diets.
The goal for most individuals with dementia is to eat a variety of foods needed for good nutrition status. For individuals who may be on a special diet for other health conditions such as diabetes or high cholesterol, health care providers may lift these restrictions to promote better overall intake. As dementia worsens, some individuals may require more calories because of increased activity. Oral nutrition supplements are often recommended to help get the calories and nutrients needed to maintain weight.
As we age our thirst sensation decreases. Add this to the other challenges of dementia and individuals may also be at an increased risk of dehydration. Encouraging fluid intake and providing foods that are rich in water, such as fruits and vegetables, can also help.
Many individuals with dementia may be unable to shop for or prepare food. They may need a caregiver to help with these tasks. When shopping, select foods that the individual enjoys eating, keeping in mind cultural and religious food preferences.