About 50% of seniors over 80 will experience some type of memory loss within their lifetime – whether it’s short-term memory loss, dementia or even Alzheimer’s. With Alzheimer’s being the most prominent in the medical community, it’s not uncommon that almost everyone knows someone who has suffered from the disease.
With Alzheimer’s and Dementia being more rampant than ever before, we must figure out why? Sure, people have been living longer, but under what costs? If you think about the food of today, it’s full of sugar, preservatives, hormones and saturated fats. We’ve already started to see the effects of these types of foods in the way our youth is growing. Children are growing and developing at a faster rate, alongside obesity and diabetes. How do you think this affects our aging population with poor eating habits?
In 2012, Dr. Richard Isaacson and Christopher Ochner, Ph. D, wrote the book, The Alzheimer’s Diet. In the book, they recommend that by changing our eating habits, we can greatly reduce the risk of developing dementia and other age-related diseases. With a diet high in protein – such as egg whites, salmon, chicken and lean beef – can boost brain power and improve overall healthy function. The authors also recommend sticking to low- and nonfat dairy products and loading your plate with yummy vegetables. Dark leafy greens are especially good – just keep in mind overdoing it on vitamin K, as some medications may react.
All in Moderation
A popular diet suggested by researchers has been a Mediterranean-style plan since dementia is less prevalent in that part of the world. It consists of healthy fats, lean meats and plenty of vegetables – staying away from red meat, sugar and processed carbohydrates.
Cutting Back Risk
The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association recently studied the “MIND” diet or the “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay” diet. Over a 4.5-year study, researchers found that this diet has cut the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by as much as 35% and a 53% drop in cognitive decline. This plan consists of:
At least three servings of whole grains a day
A salad and one other vegetable a day
A glass of wine a day
A serving of nuts a day
Beans every other day
Poultry and berries at least twice a week
Fish at least once a week
Of course, limit unhealthy brain-foods like butter, cheese, and fast/fried foods.
Oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines are rich in Omega 3, which is essential for the development and maintenance of brain tissue. It’s imperative to incorporate this into your diet.
Blueberries are strongly recommended, as they are high in antioxidants and a great source of vitamin C. Blueberries have also been shown to guard against short-term memory loss and can also help aid in other balancing other things.
Pumpkin seeds are full of Omega 3 and Zinc. This simple snack is perfect for a Vegetarian and helps maintain the sensory function part of the brain.
Avocados are high in fat, but the benefits outweigh the cons. Avocados facilitate blood flow to the brain, which is essential for keeping the mind alert and focused throughout the day. They can also help reduce the overall blood pressure in the body.
Chocolate is a sweet deal for brain function. Eating a small amount of dark chocolate every day will help provide memory-improving anti-oxidants, while milk-chocolate will improve motor functions and reaction times.
Even if you’re not into following a type of diet, a well-balanced diet is still the way to go to improve brain power, delay dementia and Alzheimers, and improve overall health and quality of life.
(Napoletan, 2013) (Yahoo, 2015)