Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common forms of dementia, affecting more than 6 million Americans. While age is a factor, dementia is not a normal part of getting older. Lifestyle changes, including changes in your diet, may lower your risk of developing the disease.
Is there a link between nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease? Yes.
If you’re concerned about Alzheimer’s and diet, there are changes you can make today that might keep you from experiencing the disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy oils, and foods low in saturated fat may lower your risk of Alzheimer’s.
Here are three simple changes you can make to your diet to reduce the risk of this disease later in life:
Three Diet Changes to Lower Your Risk of Alzheimer’s or Dementia
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Use healthy oils.
- Eat a diet low in saturated fats.
1. Enjoy a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
It’s not a surprise that consuming fruits and veggies keep us healthy. But according to a recent study, a diet high in a specific antioxidant might decrease your risk of this type of dementia.
A study published in Neurology suggests that “higher dietary intakes of flavanols may be associated with reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia.”
What are flavanols? The beneficial anti-inflammatory antioxidants found in plants. To get the most flavanols in your diet, you can enjoy nearly all fruits and vegetables because most of them have this antioxidant.
2. Consume healthy oils.
The Mediterranean diet has long been associated with a myriad of health benefits. One of the main reasons this diet is super healthy comes down to the oils used in cooking, salad dressings and dips.
A Mediterranean diet often makes use of olive oil, one of the healthiest fats for the body. Olive oil is healthy for not only the heart but also the brain. According to a Temple University Health System study, extra-virgin olive oil preserves memory and protects the brain against Alzheimer’s. And remember those flavonoids? Healthy fats such as olive oil also contain flavanol, making it the perfect staple for an Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment diet.
3. Eat a diet low in saturated fats.
Alzheimer’s and diet are linked in many ways. Along with adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet and healthy olive oil, another significant change is to say no to those high in saturated fats. These include our everyday comfort foods and favorites like cakes, biscuits, fatty cuts of meat, sausages, cured meats, cheese, lard, and cream.
Foods in saturated fats have long been known to affect our heart health, but they are also unhealthy for our brain. Studies have shown significant evidence of a positive association between higher saturated fat intake and dementia.
It’s never too late to make positive changes in your life. At South Atlantic Health Care, we believe in helping our senior patients get the best care they deserve. This includes considering nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease as we prepare meals and provide nutrition advice.