According to commonly held beliefs, your eating habits have a strong effect on your heart and its functioning. However, recent research has shown that what you eat also leads to a great impact on your mind and brain health.
This finding holds great significance, especially, for a person who is recently diagnosed with dementia. Since dementia involves deterioration of a person’s cognitive skills like memory and thinking, it is extremely essential for them to eat with great care and caution. People with dementia are generally recommended to consume a diet that is rich in brain-boosting foods and ingredients.
Here is a diet plan for a person recently diagnosed with dementia:
The MIND Diet
Extensive research in the field of mental health disorders, particularly dementia and Alzheimer’s, has led to a great many developments. One of these advances includes the ‘MIND Diet’ which is a healthy-brain diet that helps reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It also boosts a person’s overall mental and cognitive health.
The MIND Diet is basically a fusion or combination of two diets that are considered the healthiest of all: the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH diet. The former emphasizes on the consumption of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, fish and nuts while the latter comprises whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
On their own, these two diets work exceptionally well in maintaining great overall health, however, when combined together, they have the ability to protect you against Alzheimer’s.
This diet recommends 10 brain healthy foods that people with dementia must include in their diet plan and 5 unhealthy foods that they must avoid or minimize the consumption of.
The Diet Plan
Green Leafy Vegetables- 6 Servings a Week
These vegetables include broccoli, spinach, collards, kale and other greens that are loaded with vitamins A and C and numerous other essential nutrients. Researchers say that eating them six times per week can provide you with the greatest brain benefits.
Other Vegetables- 1 Serving a Day
Vegetables like tomato, asparagus, beetroots, etc., are also greatly recommended for brain health because these are packed with minerals and vitamins that give your brain a major boost.
Whole Grains- 3 or More Servings a Day
The health benefits of whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice and whole-grain breads have been well-documented according to which they promote good brain health by stimulating a steady blood flow to the brain.
Nuts- 5 Servings Per Week
Among the numerous breakthroughs on the subject of dementia, one of them is that eating a handful of nuts can stave off the damage caused by dementia.
Nuts are rich in healthy fats, antioxidants and fiber which don’t only boost brain health but also reduce the risk of heart diseases. Brazil nuts, in particular, have been found to eliminate selenium deficiency and enhance cognitive function in people with dementia.
Berries- 2 or More Servings a Week
Recent clinical research has revealed that berries can improve motor and cognitive functions and they also have the ability to prevent the development of neurodegenerative diseases that come with age. It has been credited as a ‘super food’ by researchers because it contains a compound that can protect the brain from severe symptoms of dementia.
Fish- 1 or More Serving a Week
Typically referred to as ‘the’ brain food, the consumption of fish has been increasingly linked with a healthy and well-functioning brain. Researchers have demonstrated that some types of fish contain fatty acids and amino acids that improve the health of your brain and enhance its functioning.
Beans or Legumes- 3 or More Servings a Week
Legumes include several types of beans like red beans, white beans, lentils, and peanuts. These are high in fiber and protein and low in fat and calories which help keep the brain sharp and active. They are also loaded with antioxidants and minerals like zinc, iron and potassium which are essential for good brain health.
Poultry- 2 or More Servings a Week
According to research, choline-rich diets greatly protect the brain from changes associated with dementia. They also shield the brain from the effects of ageing. Some great sources of choline are chicken, eggs, saltwater fish, etc.
Wine- 1 Serving Per Day
As bizarre as it may sound, red wine has been categorized as the healthiest beverage owing to its numerous health benefits. One of them is its power to keep the brain healthy and young.
The components present in red wine like resveratrol have been shown to offer protection against broken connections between synapses in the brain and age-related breakdown of muscle fibers.
Olive Oil- to Be Used as the Main Cooking Oil
As opposed to other kinds of cooking oils, olive oil has the least amount of fat which isn’t only beneficial for your heart health but also your brain health. In a new study, researchers showed that the consumption of extra virgin olive reduces the formation of plaques in the brain and also boosts memory and learning abilities.
Among the foods that the MIND diet recommends you remove from your diet include red meat, cheese, butter or margarine, fried or fast food, pastries and sweets. These food items have damaging effects on the brain and overall health which is why one should try to minimize their consumption.
Regardless of questions like whether or not dementia is hereditary, one should always take special care of their brain health. Especially for a person recently diagnosed with dementia, the stakes are really high. Hence, eat with caution and make sure to include the above mentioned foods in your diet. If you can’t eat them according to the recommended servings, then have them at least once or twice in a week to give an energy boost to your brain and keep it healthy.