Learning about the causes of Alzheimer’s can give you and your senior loved one a plan and diet for prevention and peace of mind. Paying attention to your aging loved ones’ health and behavior will give you an idea of where they may receive the best help, whether at home or in a memory care community.
Nutrition plays an important role in health. It nourishes both the body and mind. As a person ages, eating habits can indicate their future health and the odds of developing diseases.
Assuring that senior loved ones eat well will help them maintain their health and cognition.
Many diets promote brain health and reduce the risks of developing Alzheimer’s. A few of the more popular diets that your senior loved one may benefit from are a Mediterranean diet, DASH diet, or MIND diet.
Along with decreasing the risk of Alzheimer’s, these diets are known to slow cognitive decline and improve verbal memory. Improving cognitive health makes it easier for one to think clearly, learn, and remember.
The Kensington White Plains virtual event, How to Mitigate the Effects and Lower Your Risks of Alzheimer’s Disease – II Part Series introduces beneficial information on the development of Alzheimer’s and how a healthy lifestyle, including diet, can reduce the risks of developing memory diseases. The event features insights from Joan Nimmo, LCSW, Care Consultant and Director of Professional Education, Hudson Valley, NY Chapter Alzheimer’s Association, and Board Certified Neurologist Jason Cohen, MD.
Protecting the Brain
It is essential to protect the brain. Fortunately, medical advancements and research have shown us how to do that. We’ve learned that diet plays a crucial role in brain and cognitive health. So choosing healthy foods rich in vitamins and minerals over foods that are high in fat and grease would be wise.
Often, when seniors live alone, they have a difficult time following a healthy diet. This may be because they don’t cook for themselves, and it’s easier to eat out or grab an unhealthy snack. When this begins to happen, a caregiver may want to help with meals.
If a senior cannot receive assistance with meals or other daily tasks that help their well-being at home, you may be interested in The Kensington White Plains memory care neighborhoods. Here, seniors receive the proper diet, exercise, and therapies known to fight off memory diseases and other diseases that aging adults are at risk of developing.
While diet play a role in memory loss and Alzheimer’s, there are other causes to watch out for as well. For instance, a lack of sleep, cardiovascular disease, head injuries, age, and genetics are common causes.
Foods that may Increase the Risk of Alzheimer’s
While it is acceptable to have a cheat day or the occasional unhealthy snack, it shouldn’t become a habit. Seniors who follow what is considered a “western” diet will be those at the most increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
The western diet consists of highly processed foods and animal products. These foods are high in total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and processed grains. Eating poorly is linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, which are all conditions that put a senior at a higher risk of Alzheimer’s. This means that while unhealthy food changes and affects the brain, these conditions caused by unhealthy food can also.
Foods to Avoid for optimal brain health
- Fast food
- Fried food
- Ready-made meals
- Pastries and sweets
- Sugary drinks
- Excessive Alcohol
- Cheese (once a week is acceptable)
- Butter and stick margarine
- Red meat
Eating these foods on occasion should not have any long-term effects on your memory, but it’s important to limit them to protect your brain and body.
Most memory care communities offer healthy meals. You can also discuss your senior’s diet with the staff and note your concerns if you are worried about what they are eating.
Alzheimer’s Prevention Diets
Knowing what not to eat is helpful, but it may leave you and your loved one wondering, “what can I eat?” Luckily, many healthy foods are delicious and will please the taste buds and the brain. Following a diet may seem intimidating at first, but it can become a habit and part of daily life.
The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet reduces inflammation, protects against cell damage, lowers blood pressure, and improves cholesterol levels. Seniors who follow this diet will decrease their risks of Alzheimer’s, heart attack, and stroke.
Following this diet is quite simple, as it consists of fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, olive oil, and even a glass of red wine a day.
The DASH Diet
DASH, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is similar to the Mediterranean diet but possibly not as strict. It emphasizes eating healthy by lowering salt intake and eating foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
A senior following this diet will eat mainly lean meat, poultry, vegetables, fruits, and grains. Sweets are allowed up to 5 times a week, which is different from the Mediterranean diet.
The MIND Diet
The MIND diet was created to maintain and protect brain health. It is also known as Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. When speaking with a memory care community, this may be the diet you wish your senior loved one to follow.
When your senior loved one follows this diet, they will eat:
- Leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli, collards)
- Berries (blueberries, strawberries)
- Whole grains
- Olive oil
- Red Wine (once daily)
The Best Quality of Care at The Kensington White Plains
At The Kensington White Plains, we know that nutrition is essential when it comes to your senior’s health, recovery, and continued wellness. This is why our Director of Dining, Chef Norm, provides meals rich in nutrients while ensuring they are appealing to both the eyes and mouth.
Along with outstanding dining services and proper nutrition, our assisted living and memory care communities offer life-enrichment activities, on-site rehabilitation, and nurses available 24 hours a day.
Our communities are comfortable, safe and can make your senior loved one feel right at home. We know you want what is best for your senior, which is why we Promise to love and care for them as we do our own.
Contact us if you are interested in learning more about our communities and what we have to offer you and your senior loved one.