7 Foods that Reduce Risk of Dementia in Aged Care
There are foods to increase in your diet and foods to avoid when it comes to reducing the symptoms of dementia. At Home Nursing Solutions, we help our aged care clients develop a better eating plan to maintain good health. We use the word “balance” quite a bit in this blog, mainly because we have seen that it is the single most important factor to good health and wellbeing and we want our aged care clients to live their life right until the end feeling empowered by the choices they make and enjoying their food!
There is more and more research being done linking the direct benefit of good nutrition to our mental and emotional wellbeing and therefore to reducing the onset and symptoms of dementia. You may have heard the expression, “you are what you eat”.
Food changes our mood and outlook by affecting our body and brain chemistry
When considering diet, a balance of different food groups is important for good health. There are always diet fads which come and go and they often come across as the best diet for everyone. However there is also increasing awareness that each person has a unique constitution and what works for one person that does not always work for another.
Food that is as natural as possible, unprocessed, without additives, is a good approach to developing a healthy diet to support you as you age.
Then this leaves you to explore many different foods to your heart’s and brain’s content!
A word on sugar
In aged care, one thing we know for sure is that foods high in processed sugar definitely have negative effects on both the stomach and the brain. So if you are someone who likes a big dessert after every meal, this is one area we might advise a different alternative, or just a little less. It’s all about the balance!
The following approach to diet and nutrition can reduce onset of dementia
- A 70/30 balance of unsaturated to saturated fats. Mostly saturated fats come from animal products such as milk, butter and meat. Unsaturated fats come from sources such as nuts, oils, avocadoes and fish.
- Increase in Omega 3 fats and specific vitamins such as folate and B9 are nutrients that reduce inflammation in our bodies and improve cognitive function.
- A higher intake of fresh vegetables to bring in more of No 2 above
- Controlled alcohol intake. As long as you can stop at one small nip daily, then alcohol is OK. However, if you prefer regular big nips, then it might be time to consider why you might be reaching for the bottle a little too often.
Foods with good nutritional value for the elderly
- Leafy greens – various spinach, kale and other spring greens provide vitamin B9 and folate which have been shown to help improve cognitive function. Vitamin A and C also helps to reduce bodily inflammation.
- The Brassica family of vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, bok choy – these vegetables are higher in folate, choline and vitamin K, all shown to improve cognitive function.
- Oily fish - salmon, mackerel, herring, and trout which are high in omega 3’s
- Whole grains – brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur (cracked wheat), barley, millet, whole grain bread, pasta or crackers, oats and oatmeal. High in iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin B.
- Blueberries which are antioxidants and can eliminate harmful iron compounds and other free radicals.
- Beans and legumes – for fibre and protein as well as folate, vitamin B6 and B12, all shown to improve mental clarity, reduce inflammation and support cognitive function.
- Nuts - almonds, walnuts, peanuts and pecans which are higher in omega 3’s, vitamin E, folate, vitamin B6 and magnesium.
An opportunity for learning
If you enjoy living at home and have opted for home care support, then exploring your diet and trying out different recipes could be a fulfilling part of your day. We can also help you find the right ingredients and where they may be available in your neighborhood.
Improving your diet for better long term health and wellbeing could end up being a wonderful new adventure!
Call Home Nursing Solutions to discuss your home care options on 08 8331 3791.
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