Dementia and Alzheimer’s are both neurodegenerative diseases that cause progressive damage to cognitive functioning, which cause confusion and memory loss. Although there are no cures to these diseases and they cannot be completely prevented, there are ways to reduce the risk.
Besides keeping your parent’s mind sharp with social and mental activities, there is one other sure way to reduce their risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s: a healthy nutritious diet.
By reducing your intake on animal and high saturated fat consumption, you can reduce your parent’s risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease by 50 percent according to the most recent study in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Here are some tips on getting your parent to enjoy eating healthy:
- Cut out red meat. That means anything like pork or beef must be removed from your diet. Eat more fish and chicken, and even if you’re limited to those two meats, there are several different ways you can prepare them. Look up recipes on pulled barbeque chicken, fish tacos, stuffed bell peppers with chicken, rice and corn, and more!
- Cut out sweets. Sure, sweets are good. Who doesn’t love a good chocolate bar or lollipop every now and then? But, in order to properly reduce the risk of dementia, have your loved one eat sweet, yet healthy alternatives to candy such as a strawberry and blueberry parfait or drink a delicious fruit smoothie with apples, peaches and honey. Get creative!
- No butter or margarine! Don’t cook with butter or margarine. Instead cook with olive oil. If you love sautéed veggies, sauté them with olive oil. When a recipe asks to use butter when cooking, use olive oil instead.
- Eat more leafy greens and other vegetables. Vegetables such as kale can be enjoyed in salads with lemon, garlic, apples, nuts and a tasty vinaigrette or baked as chips. Find a recipe and make delicious ratatouille with eggplants or cook them on the grill with some olive oil.
- If your loved one isn’t allergic to nuts, make them a healthy trail mix or roast your own cashews, peanuts and pistachios. Their delicious treats, but make sure to be light on the salt!
- Pasta, rice and anything in the grain food group are all great to enjoy while reducing the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Enjoy an English muffin with marmalade, a delicious penne alla vodka recipe or chicken fried rice. Bean sides are also great too!
- A glass of wine is even safe for your elder, but too much of anything can be bad. Make sure to limit them to a couple of glasses every now and then, and make sure it is red wine!
Foods with saturated fats, fast food and cheese are all completely out of the question to ensure reducing the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. It is okay for your elder to have a bag of chips or a meal with cheese every now and then, but to properly ensure a reduced risk, it is best to limit those intakes. As your loved one gets older, they are more susceptible to mental and physical diseases, so please remain aware.
To learn more about dementia and Alzheimer’s click here.
Photo Credit: Hsuanya Tsai