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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Alzheimers Diet

Alzheimer's Diet

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive condition that damages the regions of the brain that are involved in memory, judgment, language, intelligence and behavior, but can be prevented and treated by following an Alzheimer's diet. This disease is the cause of mental decline in most cases among older adults and is generally diagnosed in individuals aged seventy and over. Alzheimer's is quite frightening because not only does it affect memory, but also affects personality, behavior, the ability to function on a daily basis. Although the causes of Alzheimer's are relatively unknown, experts believe that it could be caused by multiple factors like a family with a history of the disease, serious head injuries, smoking tobacco, elevated homocysteine levels or exposure to high levels of lead or zinc. There is no known medical treatment or cure for Alzheimer's and medications are mainly used for treatment of the symptoms rather than to prevent and contain mental deterioration.
Scientists, however, now believe that dietary measures can be used to prevent and control this debilitating disease.

An Alzheimer's diet would ideally be rich in vitamin E and vitamin C along with fish. It would also be wise to restrict the amount of saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol in the diet because findings from most studies indicate that Alzheimer's disease is much more prevalent among individuals on a diet that is both high-fat and high-calorie. A high intake of salt, alcohol and refined carbohydrates has also been found to add to the risk. The consumption of fish, on the other hand, has been found to reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. According to some researchers, this could be because of the presence of anti-inflammatory substances in fish oil that may possibly delay the onset of the disease.

Antioxidants are also believed to as beneficial in an Alzheimer's diet as anti-inflammatory agents. Many physicians recommend a diet that includes antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea, selenium, and ginkgo biloba extract. Apart from its antioxidant properties, ginkgo biloba increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, thus boosting brain function. It is also advisable that Alzheimer's patients avoid processed foods, alcohol, tobacco, and environmental toxins, particularly metals like aluminium and mercury.

Alzheimer's Foods to Avoid, Eat

In general, some foods that an Alzheimer's diet should include are homemade yogurt, defatted soy flour, oatmeal, whole grain cereal and breads, sugar and fat-free foods. The diet should also include low fat tomato sauces and pasta, salmon and other fish, green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, and pumpkin. Include these foods in your diet, while excluding red meats, hydrogenated oils, excessive amounts of butter and animal fats. Other foods to avoid are fast food, excessive amounts of coffee, sugar, chocolates, and aerated drinks or alcohol. All these measures would contribute to a healthy Alzheimer's diet. Your brain is a blood and flesh organ and proper fuel is required for its proper functioning. Preventing loss of memory, building better memory, and impacting the causes of the disease depends on your lifestyle. An Alzheimer’s diet plan is critical to the health of your brain. With an Alzheimer’s diet and exercise you will actually be able to influence your genes’ health. Therefore, following a diet for Alzheimer’s prevention is a starting point. One of the most effective ways in which you can build a better memory is by avoiding a diet high in saturated and trans-fats. These fats include those that come from animal products, particularly red meats, and can bring about inflammation as well as the production of free radicals. As you may know, free radicals are the usual byproduct of the metabolic process, but in high quantities they can cause severe damage and even kill the brain cells. Consuming foods rich in antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E is a great natural way to get rid of free radicals from your body. Scientists also believe that consuming a lot of vegetables, fruits, vegetarian protein substitutes like soy, and fish rich in omega-3 oils can help protect against memory loss. Hence, including these foods to your Alzheimer’s disease diet can be of great help. An ideal Alzheimer’s disease dietary management plan can be broken down in the following way:
  • 20 percent of good fats: The items that come under this group include flax seed oil, avocado oil, and extra virgin olive oil.
  • 40 percent lean proteins: These foods include soy, turkey, chicken, and fish, taken daily.
  • 40 percent complex carbohydrates: The foods that come under this group are fresh fruits, legumes, whole grains, and fresh vegetables.

Some of the other Alzheimer’s disease foods that help are seaweed, spinach, and blueberries. If you are serious about preventing memory loss and improving memory you should take a high potency mineral and vitamin capsule. You should make sure that the vitamin formula you select has vitamin C and folic acid. Folic acid brings down the levels of homocystenine, which can increase the chances of memory loss and heart disease if it is in high quantities. Some other foods to prevent Alzheimer’s disease include lightly cooked carrots, pumpkin, walnuts, grapes, and oatmeal. If you suspect that you have Alzheimer’s, diet soda should definitely be avoided. For those with Alzheimer’s, drinking diet soda can further damage memory and should be stopped immediately. Some of the Alzheimer's foods to avoid are red meats, hamburgers, hotdogs, and sugar, which is a major culprit. Other Alzheimer’s disease foods to avoid are soft drinks, chocolate, salt, and alcohol. In patients with Alzheimer’s disease, dietary restriction is very important as eating the wrong kinds of food can make the condition worse. Alzheimer's disease dietary supplements such as vitamins B-12, C, and E and folate can help maintain the health of the brain. It has been shown in studies that individuals with a deficiency of folate were thrice as likely to develop dementia as compared to those with proper folate levels. Therefore, to effectively treat Alzheimer’s, diet soda and other foods that are detrimental to memory should be avoided and instead a proper Alzheimer’s diet and nutrition should be taken and maintained.

Submitted on May 19, 2011