Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain condition that eventually leads to death usually due to complications. It is referred to as an old age disease as it mostly affects persons over the age of 65. However, in rather cases it affects younger people and is called early onset Alzheimer’s disease. The disease is not curable therefore treatment is geared towards slowly the disease progression. Even though medications are typically prescribed, adopting a healthy lifestyle and Alzheimer’s diet is also recommended.
The Alzheimer’s diet is not only useful for persons suffering from the disease but can also be adopted by healthy individuals who would like to lower their risk of getting the disease. As Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disease, the Alzheimer’s diet will be a brain healthy diet.
For persons who already have Alzheimer’s, the diet will not simply be about keeping the brain as healthy as possible with a healthy diet, but about the patients overall health. Studies have shown that people with poor health exhibit more Alzheimer’s symptoms. The diet should therefore be full of the essential nutrients and well balanced.
Generally speaking, an Alzheimer’s diet for a person with the disease does not have to be a special diet. However, you should realize that the individual may not respond to food as they did before. This has more to do with age than with the disease. The body may not be able to digest food as efficiently as it once did and therefore may not be able to utilize the nutrients as well. This means that the individual may be at risk for malnutrition and weight loss.
An Alzheimer’s diet, even for prevention of the disease, should include certain foods that have been found to be beneficial for brain health. These foods include foods rich in omega-3 acids such as oily fish like tuna, mackerel, salmon, sardines and trout, omega-6 fatty acids, Vitamins C, D, E and B12 and folic acid. Therefore the diet should incorporate fruits and vegetables, particularly dark colored ones as they are richer in antioxidants, and fish. Vegetables that are beneficial include kale, broccoli, beetroot, spinach, bell peppers and onions. Some of the fruits that should be included are strawberries, cherries, oranges, grapes, plums, raspberries and blueberries.
Nuts such as walnuts, pecans and almonds are a good source of vitamin E. olive oil is also beneficial and can be used in cooking as well as in salad dressings. Green tea should also be included as it has been shown to slow the brain’s aging process.
An Alzheimer’s diet should not include foods high in transfats, saturated fats and cholesterol. These are typically fast foods such as French fries and other deep fried foods. Foods should, as far as possible, be grilled or baked. It should also have low sodium content and contain very little dairy products.
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