Updated: Jul 25
The phrase "food for thought" refers to an idea or piece of information worth thinking about. But there is some truth to this phrase when speaking about nutrition and Dementia. Can the food we eat help reduce the risk of developing Dementia and help slow down the progression? Understanding the link between both has been the topic of many studies. Recent research has indicated that dietary factors influence and maintain mental function.
Dr. Walter Willett, a professor in the cause of disease and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, states, "Pretty much anything that will help keep arteries healthy will reduce the risk of Dementia." Certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity can increase our risk of Dementia. In addition, the brain requires a regular supply of nutrients in our diet to function and remain healthy. Eating a nutrient-rich diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, omega-3 oils, low amounts of salt and saturated fats, and eliminating refined sugars will help to maintain the health of both our hearts and brain. Dr. Mitchel Kling, the director of the memory assessment program at the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging, states, "the more colorful the produce on your plate, the better the food usually is for your brain."
Many types of seafood, such as fatty fish, can help reduce the risk of age-related Dementia or cognitive decline. They can be a great source of omega-3 fatty acids leading to better brain health. "Fish is brain food," says Dr. Kling. Some research suggests that following a Mediterranean Diet can reduce the risks of developing memory and thinking difficulties, with slower decline rates. In addition, the Mediterranean Diet promotes cardiovascular health and prevents many chronic diseases, which is why a large portion of the population follows this diet. It is simple to follow and includes foods such as:
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Legumes (lentils and beans)
Extra virgin olive oil
Poultry (white meat)
There is no guarantee in the prevention of Dementia. Still, the good news is we can take early action toward a healthy brain by learning the benefits of good nutrition. A healthy diet is the foundation of a healthy brain.
The opinions of contributing authors are not necessarily the opinions of the Dementia Society, Inc. We do not endorse nor guarantee products, comments, suggestions, links, or other forms of the content contained within blog posts that have been provided to us with permission, paid or otherwise. Dementia Society does not provide medical advice. Please consult your doctor. www.DementiaSociety.org
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/21/well/mind/dementia-prevention-food-diet.html (accessed October 30, 2022)
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/what-to-eat-to-reduce-your-risk-of-alzheimers-disease-2020050819774 (accessed October 30, 2022)
https://www.scie.org.uk/dementia/living-with-dementia/eating-well/diet.asp (accessed November 1, 2022)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805706/ (accessed November 1, 2022)