Dementia affects thinking, memory, and social abilities that interfere with an individual’s daily life. It’s one of the leading causes of death globally, but unfortunately, there’s no cure.
So it’s better to prevent or delay this condition caused by Alzheimer’s. But how? Is there any particular Alzheimer’s diet?
Although there’s no particular diet, experts recommend eating a nutritious and balanced diet. It typically includes whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Say NO to foods rich in sugar, salt, and saturated fat.
Moreover, some recent studies show that the right diet can minimize the risk of dementia and maintain a healthy heart simultaneously.
Diet and Risk of Dementia
Dementia is also caused due to circulatory or heart disease. Thus, taking care of your heart and brain is essential.
The first symptoms of Alzheimer’s emerge after some changes in the brain. And scientists are looking for ways to delay or prevent dementia conditions at this early brain stage by drugs, changing lifestyle, or combining both.
You can’t change the genetics and age factors causing Alzheimer’s. Still, you can control other lifestyle factors like exercise and diet. Interestingly, Rush University of Chicago researchers created the MIND diet – Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, to help control dementia.
It represents a two-diet combination that minimizes the risk of circulatory disease –
- The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet reduces the risk of circulatory and heart diseases or related dementia by controlling blood pressure.
- The Mediterranean diet includes fish, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and pulses.
But still, the evidence isn’t too strong. So researchers are conducting more thorough tests to determine this diet’s contribution to preventing dementia.
Eating a particular diet can generally influence biological mechanisms like inflammation and oxidative stress, which lead to Alzheimer’s. Or it’s perhaps the diet that affects other risk factors of this disease, like obesity, heart disease, or diabetes.
The Mediterranean Diet
Researchers have found some encouraging associations between the Mediterranean diet and dementia. This diet is based on vegetables, fruits, fish, whole grains, fish,
legumes and seafood. Moreover, it also emphasizes unsaturated fats and the lowest amount of eggs, sweets, and red meat.
In some observational studies, researchers have compared normal thinking-ability individuals eating a Mediterranean diet and those who consumed Western-style foods. And the results confirmed a link between the Mediterranean diet and reduced risk of dementia.
However, all studies didn’t attest to the association between cognition boost and eating well. Although not proven, evidence suggests that a Mediterranean diet can minimize the possibility of suffering from dementia.
Is the MIND Diet Effective?
It’s a comparatively new diet emphasizing foods associated with controlling dementia. Fascinatingly, the MIND diet includes the following foods –
- Leafy vegetables (6 servings per week) & other vegetables (1 serving per day)
- Fish (at least once a week)
- Whole grains (3 servings per day)
- Poultry (2 servings per week)
- Nuts (5 servings per week)
- Berries (2 servings each week)
- Olive oil.
Note that the MIND diet includes the least consumption of sweets, fast or fried food, red meat, fried or fast food, cheese, and margarine or butter.
In 2015, the first study to prove a positive effect of the MIND diet on dementia conditions was published. Among 960 participants, the ones who closely followed this diet showed that their brains were about 7.5 years younger than those who didn’t eat the diet.
However, it is known that even those who can’t follow this diet 100% are known to have a lower risk of having dementia. But it will yet need more research and evidence to get listed in the national dietary chart.
The Diet Matters!
Generally, a diet for a healthy heart can minimize dementia risk as this condition and heart disease has the same risk factors like obesity and high cholesterol.
Note that the whole diet matters as you consume different nutrients from different foods, and they collaborate, getting you extra benefits.
According to some current studies, fish is suggested to encourage higher cognitive abilities. Plus, the Mediterranean diet might provide specific nutrients in a significant amount that can protect the brain.
Interestingly, this can also hinder beta-amyloid deposits found in the brains of Alzheimer’s, thereby preventing the disease.
Well, scientists are conducting research in different directions and diets, considering Alzheimer’s nature and markers.