We are what we eat, as the saying goes, and that’s shown to be the case with certain types of foods and an increased risk for dementia – and with others that may actually improve cognitive functioning. While many of us are resolving to live a healthier lifestyle in 2021, we can also help the seniors in our care maximize wellness by understanding the link between dementia and nutrition, and adjusting dietary habits accordingly.
Why It Matters
A diet high in processed foods, carbs, and sugar produces toxins in our bodies that cause inflammation and plaque buildup in the brain. A senior who consumes too many of these types of foods while limiting fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins may be experiencing impaired cognitive functioning as a result, as the brain isn’t receiving the right type of fuel it needs.
Foods to Avoid
Many popular go-to food choices, unfortunately, are on the list of those linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, including:
- White sugar, rice, bread, cakes, and pasta, which increase insulin levels and send toxins to the brain
- Processed meats and cheeses: bacon, smoked meats, mozzarella sticks, American cheese, etc. which build up the proteins linked to Alzheimer’s
- Beer, which contains the nitrites that are also linked to Alzheimer’s
- Microwavable popcorn, which contains a chemical, diacetyl, that is linked to an increased level of amyloid plaques in the brain
Foods to Enjoy
It’s not easy to create and stick to new dietary habits, but replacing the foods above with the recommendations below will lead to better health outcomes for the seniors you love – and for yourself. All of the following are linked to improved memory and overall cognitive functioning:
- Cold-water fish, such as salmon
- Green, leafy vegetables
- Dark-skinned fruits and berries
- Extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil
If the thought of overhauling a senior loved one’s diet is overwhelming, let us help! As one of the top-rated caregiver agencies in Phoenix, AZ and the surrounding areas, the aging care experts at Nightingale Homecare are trained, experienced, and skilled in planning and preparing meals that are both nutritious and delicious, in accordance with any dietary restrictions or recommendations.
Not only that, but our caregivers are adept in creative Alzheimer’s care techniques, understanding and effectively managing some of the more challenging aspects of the disease, while helping seniors engage in meaningful, enjoyable pastimes and activities to make each day the very best it can be.
Contact us at (602) 504-1555 to learn more about our customized home care services for seniors, and to request a free in-home consultation to let us get to know you and the challenges you’re facing. We’ll be happy to create an ideal solution for your particular circumstances – from just a little support for a few hours each week, up through and including full-time, live-in care.