When it comes to an optimal dementia diet, there are two key approaches. The first is following a diet in terms of dementia prevention. The second is a dementia-related diet for those who have already been diagnosed. Unfortunately, as symptoms of dementia progress, individuals can become overwhelmed by food choices, find it difficult to eat, or experience a change in taste preferences.
Preventing Dementia Based on a Nutrient-Rich Diet
Although there is still a lot we need to discover and there are various conditions which create symptoms of dementia, we are now discovering the positive role in which a balanced diet plays in terms of degenerative conditions.
Based on research, the MIND diet has been promoted as an effective way to reduce one’s risk of dementia. Standing for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, this natural plant-based diet limits animal protein and foods that are high in saturated fat.
Based on a study that was published in the Journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia, 923 participants between the ages of 58 and 98-years-old were followed for 4.5 years. They were told to evaluate their diet based on a rating system. For instance, those who follow a strict MIND diet displayed the highest score of 15. Based on neuropsychological assessments and cognitive measures, it was found that those who follow the MIND or a similar Mediterranean diet experienced a 50 percent reduction in the rate of Alzheimer’s.
While focusing on the key foods to consume, these included green leafy vegetables, a mixture of other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil, and one glass of wine daily. Foods to avoid, included red meat, butter and margarine, cheese, pastries, as well as fried and processed foods.
Food and Eating Once Diagnosed with Dementia
If you or your loved one have already been diagnosed with dementia, you know that there is currently no cure. With that being said, a nutritional diet is still essential in order to maintain strength and potentially improve select symptoms. Just as you would follow a balanced diet to prevent Alzheimer’s, consuming a variety of nutrient-rich foods can continue to promote positive health.
As dementia progresses, weight loss and changes in appetite can cause concern. It’s also important to encourage hydration as a carer, offering small cups of water and foods that have a high water content, such as fruit, soups, and smoothies.
If individuals with dementia are not consuming the essential nutrients their body needs, symptoms can actually worsen. This is especially true regarding symptoms such as confusion and agitation. Just because someone has been diagnosed with dementia, does not mean that they shouldn’t continue following a balanced diet and active lifestyle.
McDonald, Ian. (2015). The MIND Diet: another Approach to Dementia Risk Reduction. Dementia News. Retrieved from http://dementiaresearchfoundation.org.au/blog/mind-diet-another-approach-dementia-risk-reduction