In lieu of a cure, the focus on dementia and related illnesses has shifted to prevention. Studies have shown that by eating specific “superfoods” it may be possible to help slow memory loss and cognitive decline. Look to the MIND diet, a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets, and incorporate these 10 types of foods into your regular eating habits.
Your mother was right when she commanded, “Eat your greens!” Vegetables like kale, spinach, and Brussels sprouts have been shown to slow the rate of cognitive decline by boosting memory. Also, higher levels of folate (found in leafy greens) can reduce the risk of dementia.
The best berries to consume are strawberries, blueberries, and acai. These fruits are high in antioxidants, which can help improve memory and cognitive function. A University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center study linked blueberry consumption to “improved access to words and concepts.”
Unsalted nuts are high on the MIND diet list with the suggested serving being a handful five times per week. Walnuts, especially, are high in healthy fats like omega-3s and are also associated with improving memory.
Can’t get enough of those omega-3s! Fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, anchovies, and caviar top the list. Shoot for fish two or three times per week. Consider meatless Mondays and Wednesdays with fish as the new star of your plate.
Beans & Legumes
Replace your typical starch, like potatoes or white rice, and even your red meat, with some type of bean. Or use beans as a base layer under your prepared chicken or fish. Rich in vitamin B, the MIND diet encourages eating them more than three times per week.
Healthy fats are the basis of a good Mediterranean diet, and olive oil is a primary ingredient in this style of cooking. Switch out your vegetable or canola oil for a little EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). Saute or roast your veggies in it, pour it on your salads, or use it to enhance that pot of beans you’re simmering for the week.
While some may think milk chocolate is tastier, dark chocolate is the key to reducing your chances of dementia. One study showed increased functioning in the hippocampus portion of the brain.
Not just a spice for your cider, cinnamon can be used in so many recipes and drinks and is said to boost your memory and potentially clear any protein buildup in your brain (associated with Alzheimer’s).
When it comes to grains, choose from oats, brown rice, whole-grain wheat, and quinoa. Steer clear of breads and cereals.
Green Tea/Oolong Tea
A 2019 study revealed that compounds in green tea and carrots might reverse the effects of Alzheimer's symptoms. And another study done on daily tea drinkers showed that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in loose-leaf tea can help prevent vascular damage in the brain. Drink up!
Visit our Brightwater Senior Living blog for more health tips for seniors.