There is so much information out there about what foods you should eat and which ones to avoid. Is there any information about dementia and diet that you can trust? Fortunately, we know a lot about the connection between food and degenerative disorders. That’s why we’ve put together what you need to know about the dementia diet and how you can limit your risk. If you are looking to prevent memory loss, you’ve come to the right place.
The Dementia Diet
The brain requires a daily supply of nutrients to function properly. There is growing consensus that what you eat affects the way your brain works. Here are the foods to pay attention to if you are trying to avoid dementia through your stomach.
A Healthy Heart is a Healthy Brain
We all know that certain foods can contribute to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. But did you know that certain foods can increase your risk of dementia?
For a long time, these risk factors were often associated with vascular dementia, however, we know now that they are also associated with the development of Alzheimer’s. Much of what is healthy for your heart is also healthy for your brain.
If you are worried about developing any form of dementia, reducing your salt intake is worth considering. A diet high in sodium contributes to high blood pressure, which in turn can result in an increased risk of stroke as well as dementia.
Roughly 66% of the salt we consume comes from processed foods like cereal, bread, soup, and sauces. This means it’s not just the amount of salt you add to your foods, but also how the food itself is manufactured. You should aim to have no more than 6 grams of salt each day. This is approximately equal to one teaspoon.
Fat and Oil
It is a long-known fact that too much fat in your diet can lead to heart conditions that affect the vascular system. Particularly, saturated fat or trans fat can raise your levels of cholesterol if eaten in significant quantities. High rates of saturated fat and trans fat in the diet have been associated with an increased risk of dementia.
Omega 3 Fish Oils
The omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oils play an important role in the structure of the brain’s cells, which helps to maintain healthy brain function. These particular nutrients must come from food since our bodies can’t produce them. The two primary fatty acids that make up omega-3 are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These are found in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines. It is recommended that you eat at least one serving of fish every week.
Two vitamins often found in fruits and vegetables are vitamins C and E. These are examples of antioxidants, which reduce the negative effects of oxidation in the body. Vitamin E is the subject of much research in reducing the risk of dementia. Some sources of antioxidants include:
- Green tea
- Red wine
Research demonstrates a connection between antioxidants and dementia, though results are inconclusive.
Folic Acid, Vitamin B6 and B12
Not having enough folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 in the body can cause an amino acid called homocysteine to rise. Increased levels of this amino acid are considered a risk factor for a number of diseases, not least of all is dementia. It is best to eat foods rich in these nutrients like:
- Whole grains
The impact of good nutrition on the brain cannot be ignored. Your brain needs proper nutrients to function properly and a deficit of such nutrients can lead to cognitive dysfunction over time. The research regarding dementia and diet is ongoing.
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