People afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease best benefit from therapeutic care. And while counseling and medication are crucial parts of it, an underrated yet equally important aspect is diet.
There are tons of food items that can have a deep impact on brain health. A few years ago, the Rush University Medical Center specially researched some of these and designed the MIND diet.
Short for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, the MIND diet includes vegetables, proteins, and other eatables containing antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
MIND has specific recommendations on what food items are best for Alzheimer’s patients and what they should avoid. Keep reading to find out what these are. In the meantime, check out YourDementiaTherapist.com for more information regarding Alzheimer’s care and management.
Best Food Items
Green leafy vegetables
The MIND diet should include green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and other greens. These green leafy vegetables are packed with vitamins A and C, both of which play a critical role in the well-being of the nervous system. You should ensure that the patient takes at least two servings of leafy greens per week for optimum benefits. If possible, increase the frequency to 6 times a week.
It’s also important to include other vegetables in a patient’s diet. Non-starchy vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli significantly help. Overall, ensure that the patient has a good balance of vegetables in every meal for maximum effectiveness
Providing Alzheimer’s patients with at least three servings of whole grains per day is highly recommended. You can choose grains like Barley, buckwheat, oatmeal, etc., and prepare many delicious meals for the patient.
Nuts are full of antioxidants, healthy fats and oils, and high amounts of fiber. Thus, they should be a staple of any Alzheimer’s patient’s diet. The recommended MIND amount is five times a week. If you’re not sure how to include nuts in meals, you can always serve them as tea-time snacks or along with breakfast.
Eating berries twice a week is an excellent dietary habit for Alzheimer’s patients, and the MIND diet specifically recommends blueberries. You can also serve strawberries because, according to past research, they even help improve cognitive function. The best way to serve them would be frozen and raw. But if the patient refuses to eat them like that, try to make pies or some whole-grain crepes with berries and serve them as breakfast.
Alzheimer’s disease often causes DHA deficiency in the patient. DHA is an essential Omega-3 fatty acid. And fish are a great source of Omega 3 acids. Thus, including fish in an Alzheimer’s patient’s diet could help maintain brain function and even prevent the disease to a great extent.
Besides, fish are also rich in Vitamin B12, a nutrient believed to help with cognitive impairment. So regularly include fish like Salmon, Tuna, and Mackerel in your patient’s diet. And remember, when it comes to fish, fresh is always better than canned. Now that you know what foods you must include in an Alzheimer’s patient’s diet, it’s time to be educated on things to stay away from. So keep reading!
Foods to Avoid
Fried food and fast food
Fast food is never good for anyone. But for Alzheimer’s patients, it can be even more detrimental. That doesn’t mean you must not allow the patient to consume even a single bite of fried or fast food. In fact, eating it once a week won’t cause much harm. But it’s best to avoid it most times.
Pastries and sweets
Too much sugar can hurt your brain and cardiovascular health. For an Alzheimer’s patient, therefore, food items like pastries and sweets are a big no-no. Even if you want to give your loved one a sweet treat, keep it limited to a maximum of five times a week, and that too in minimal quantities. 3. Butter and cheese –
Certain cheeses, like brie, cheddar, and mozzarella, aren’t good for Alzheimer’s patients because of their fat content. So their consumption should be reduced. Similarly, butter is another dairy item that should be given to such a patient in minimal amounts.
Eliminating the above-mentioned food items from an Alzheimer’s patient’s diet can prove a blessing for them in the long run. And even in cases where you can’t eliminate them completely, do your best to reduce or limit their intake.
The MIND diet has proven very useful for people suffering from Alzheimer’s. If followed correctly, it can reduce the severity of symptoms and make the patient much more comfortable. So if you have an Alzheimer’s patient at home, go the extra mile and include some of the food items suggested above in their diet. And if you have witnessed the excellent effect of these items on a patient, comment below to let us know.