We’ve always advised our caregivers on how to help patients with their diets. Providing a balanced diet and limiting foods with high saturated fats, refined sugar and sodium are always preferred to keep the body healthy and strong – especially with respect to patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s. As these disease progress, patients often lose their appetite and experience dramatic weight loss. And, staying hydrated is a key measure.

A recent study – called the MIND diet – shows that a specific diet plan may help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by upwards of 50%. (Currently over 5 millions Americans over 65 are affected by this disease.) Of course there are many factors that play a role (like exercise, smoking, education and genetics), but the MIND diet slowed down the cognitive decline rate across the board.

The MIND diet basically focuses on 10 “brain foods” that people should work into their diet. It also points out 5 food groups that are unhealthy. On the list of good foods to eat:

  1. Leafy greens – kale, spinach, broccoli and other greens – at least two times per week
  2. Other Veggies – at least once per day
  3. Nuts – Five servings per week
  4. Berries – Two or more servings per week
  5. Beans – At least three servings per week
  6. Whole Grains – Three or more times per day
  7. Fish – At least once per week
  8. Poultry – At least twice per week
  9. Olive oil over other cooking oils/fats
  10. Wine – a glass every day!

On the list of five foods to avoid/reduce are:

  1. Red Meat – Less than four times per week (ideally one)
  2. Butter and margarine
  3. Cheese – Limit it to once per week
  4. Pastries and sweets – No more than five per week
  5. Fried foods – Once a week is enough

Research shows that those who stuck to the diet truly reduced their risk by the 50+% mentioned above. However, those who only mildly followed the guidelines, had only a 35% reduction in risk. So in this case, being diligent about the diet is key.

For more information, visit: https://www.rush.edu/news/diet-may-help-prevent-alzheimers.

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