Seven Dietary Changes That Will Help In Keeping Dementia Symptoms At Bay

Every 3 seconds, someone in the world is reported to develop dementia. As of 2017, the estimated number of people suffering from dementia globally was approximately 50 million. These numbers are expected to move up to 131 million by 2050 with figures doubling every 2 decades.

The occurrence of dementia can be marked by cognitive changes such as gradual memory loss, altered personality traits, impaired reasoning, and confused thinking. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease accounting for 60 to 80% of all dementia patients.

In addition to neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease), dementia is also the resultant of many vascular disorders especially those that are concerned with blood circulation to the brain. Trauma to the head via road traffic accidents falls, or blunt trauma is another contributing factor along with infections affecting the brain (meningitis, HIV, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob) and prolonged alcohol and drug use.

The presenting signs and symptoms of dementia vary from person to person depending on the degree of severity. Early symptoms are hard to point out and become more obvious with time as the disease progresses. Here are some common presenting symptoms commonly encountered amongst dementia patients:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty in communication
  • Impaired coordination
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Impaired reasoning
  • Disorganized approach
  • Agitation and paranoia
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Personality changes

Dementia Prevention

When it comes to dementia prevention, owing to the complex nature of the illness, many determining factors come into play. According to research, however, some essential lifestyle changes have been proven to reduce the risk of developing dementia because all of these lifestyle changes contribute to the overall betterment of brain health.

According to Age UK, our lifestyle choices are responsible for approximately 76% of the changes concerned with aging and simple alterations in these choices can reduce the risk of developing dementia by almost 36%. Some of these lifestyle changes include:

  • Regular Exercise

The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation claims that regular physical exercise can contribute to a staggering 50% reduction in Alzheimer’s disease development. Cognitive problems are a classic presenting symptom of dementia. Exercise can slow down the deterioration process by maintaining the brain’s stimulating mechanisms aiding in the preservation of old connections and building of new ones. Moderate intensity workouts are recommended including a combination of weight training and cardio exercise. In addition to these, balance and coordination exercises such as yoga are advised to maintain agility which in turn will prevent falls or any other accidents.

  • Quality Sleep

Insomnia is a common presenting symptom of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in general. According to multiple studies, disrupted sleep is not just a symptom of dementia but also a potential cause. Establishing a regular sleep schedule and aiming for at least a good 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is said to greatly contribute to brain health.

  • Mental Simulation

The more active your brain is, the lesser is your likelihood of developing dementia. Activities that call for communication, observing, learning, interacting, questioning and organizing are the most stimulating of them all. Learn something new and challenge yourself. Set new goals by increasing your knowledge over something you already know. Memorization, strategic games, riddles, puzzles; all of these are excellent ways to keep the brain working.

  • Stress Management

Continuous stress on the brain is reported to contribute to brain shrinkage in the memory area. This, in turn, hinders nerve cell growth and thus contributes to the development of neurodegenerative disorders in the future. Relieve your stress with the help of breathing exercises, meditation, or other relaxing activities such as yoga, swimming, bathing, etc. Prioritize leisure and fun over work and give yourself a break from time to time.

  • Social Engagement

Don’t be afraid to interact with those around you. Connect with people by interacting with them. Isolation is not the way to deal with anything. Instead, opt to meet others and make new bonds. The more interactive you are, the more enlightened and up to date you will be with anything and everything.

  • Healthy Diet

Diet is one of the most major contributors to dementia prevention. A healthy diet benefits both your brain as well as your body. A healthy diet in this scenario means one that has a lesser percentage of saturated fats. There are two main types of diets that are said to greatly affect the occurrence of heart disease as well as the risk of dementia namely, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean diet. A conglomerate of the two is the MIND diet which provides us with 10 brain healthy foods and 5 unhealthy food groups that one must avoid to prevent dementia.

  • Dietary Changes to Aid Dementia Prevention

According to the MIND diet, there are 10 food groups one must consume and 5 food groups one must avoid if they are to adopt a healthy dietary lifestyle.

Food groups to avoid include:

  • Red meat and red meat products such as processed meats, etc.
  • Butter and trans-fat margarine
  • Pastries and other sweets
  • Fried or fast foods
  • Whole fat cheese

Food groups to include in one’s diet include:

  • Green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach
  • Other vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkin, asparagus, tomatoes, etc.
  • Nuts such as almonds, cashews, and pecans
  • Berries such as blueberries, strawberries, and cherries
  • Beans and other legumes
  • Whole grains such as quinoa and oats.
  • Seafood
  • Poultry
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Wine in small quantities

These recommended changes in diet have proven to aid in normalizing Vitamin D levels in the body as well as optimize the intake on omega-3, and limit carbs and sugars in the diet. There is reported to be a 53% decrease in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease with the MIND diet thereby proving the relationship between a healthy diet and the development of dementia.

For a more detailed insight into dementia, log on to DementiaTalk.

Spread the love

Article Author Details

Ashley Rosa

Ashley Rosa is a freelance writer and blogger. As writing is her passion that why she loves to write articles related to the latest trends in technology and sometimes on health-tech as well. She is crazy about chocolates.