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Nutrition and management of dementia

Nutrition and management of dementia

Dementia is a syndrome affecting memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities, usually chronic or progressive by nature, which
is caused by a variety of brain illnesses, of which Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and frontotemporal dementia
are the most common.

The impact can be physical, emotional and psychological, and can also profoundly change the practicalities of everyday
life. A healthy diet and nutrition are fundamental to wellbeing at any stage of life and to helping to combat other life-threatening diseases. We believe it can
play as important a role in relation to dementia.

However, there is no cure for dementia right now, but if it is diagnosed in the early stages, there are ways you can slow it down and maintain mental function.
One of these ways is the MIND diet - a diet developed specifically to help improve brain function and reduce dementia, which is a combination of the
Mediterranean diet and the blood pressure-lowering DASH diet.
Research showed results from epidemiological cohort studies, that adherence to a Mediterranean diet (with a high proportionate intake of cereals, fruits, fish
and vegetables) might lower the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Mediterranean diet could reduce the risk of dementia through its effects on the
vascular system, reducing cardiovascular disease, by increasing the concentration of plasma neutrophins, which protect neurons against oxidative
stress, or by limiting pro-inflammatory cascades.

Physical exercise and diet
Regular physical exercise may be a beneficial strategy to lower the risk of Alzheimer's and vascular dementia. Exercise may directly benefit brain cells
by increasing blood and oxygen flow in the brain Because of its known cardiovascular benefits, a medically approved exercise program is a valuable
part of any overall wellness plan.

Current evidence suggests that heart-healthy eating may also help protect the brain. Heart-healthy eating includes limiting the intake of sugar and saturated
fats and making sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Two diets that have been studied and may be beneficial are the DASH (Dietary
Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean diet. The DASH diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits and fat-free or low-fat dairy
products; includes whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils; and limits sodium, sweets, sugary beverages, and red meats.
A Mediterranean diet includes relatively little red meat and emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, and nuts, olive oil and other
healthy fats.

These foods listed below which contain saturated fats and trans fats should be limited;

1. Fried foods - Fried food is discouraged as a chemical released when fried foods are heated have been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s.
2. Pastries and sweets
3. Cheese
4. Butter – As an alternative try to use olive oil for light cooking of vegetables.
5. Red meat

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