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Though there are some changes that are a natural part of the aging process, there are many lifestyle choices that can dramatically improve one’s quality of life. In fact, many – if not most – physical and mental illnesses can be delayed, prevented, or even reversed with proper nutrition and other personal choices. Are you or a loved one experiencing the onset of dementia? Here’s how food and nutrition influence the progress of certain types of dementia.
Though the B vitamins have little in common on a chemical level, they are all important to the body’s development and health. In fact, there is reason to believe that some of them are essential to a properly functioning brain. In general, a balanced diet will provide more than the necessary amount of B vitamins, and supplementation might not be necessary. Since patients with dementia are often undernourished, however, seeking out foods that are rich in B vitamins could help control the symptoms and speed of mental decline.
Foods that are rich in B vitamins: Meat, dairy, leafy greens, soy milk, whole grains.
Though a high intake of many fats can damage one’s long-term health, omega-3 fats are believed to protect the brain’s cells from damage. These fats, which are abundant in many fish, are most effective at preventing damage before it occurs, which means that those who believe they are at risk for Alzheimer’s should consider increasing their daily fish intake before symptoms appear.
Any time the body has an inflammatory reaction, harmful chemicals known as oxidants are produced. When uncontrolled, these chemicals can damage the brain and other cells in the body. Just as you can prevent rust and oxidation on metal with paint or a protective coating, however, foods that contain antioxidants can protect your brain from the harmful effects of inflammation and oxidants. For example, vitamins A, C and E are believed to have a helpful antioxidant action. In fact, vitamins C and E are particularly helpful when used together. Remember to speak to a doctor before starting a vitamin regimen, however, as vitamin E, in particular, can have harmful side effects (such as blood thinning) when taken in high doses.
Since those with dementia often struggle to maintain a healthy diet that meets their physical and mental needs, it’s important to develop a healthy plan and stick to it. At Fedelta Home Care, we specialize in helping patients and families in need plan for and manage the effects of aging and illness. For diet planning, consultation, and assistance developing an effective home care plan, contact us today.