The Link Between Healthy Diets & Alzheimer’s Disease in Seniors

Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating illness that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a progressive and irreversible brain disorder that gradually destroys memory, thinking skills, and ultimately, the ability to carry out even the simplest of tasks. Most of them believe Alzheimer’s is a condition that definitely arrives as age progresses. But this isn’t true. According to recent research performed by RUSH University, people who are following the MIND or Mediterranean diet have 40% less chance for developing Alzheimer’s.

Individuals who adhere to the MIND or Mediterranean diet are found to have low levels of Plaques and Tangles, which are among the key factors for the development of Alzheimer’s. Though genetics and aging are the potential factors influencing the risk for this mental condition, we can help our r loved ones in reducing the chances for Alzheimer’s by encouraging for a MIND and Mediterranean diet.

Follow our blog, support them in adopting to a new lifestyle that helps them in managing and preventing the Alzheimer’s disease.

What are Plaques and Tangles?

Tau Tangles and Amyloid Plaques are the two molecules which are considered to be responsible for the Alzheimer’s disease and brain damage. These molecules are present in every individual’s brain. But, when these grow in higher volume, the person or the individual will have Alzheimer’s. The growth of these molecules interferes with the nervous massages and therefore affect the brain tissues.

What is MIND and Mediterranean Diet?

MIND Diet is popularly known as a healthy diet plan for brain. It focuses majorly on plant-based foods and limits animal-based foods that are rich in saturated fats and sugar.

Mediterranean Diet majorly focuses on healthy fats and plant-based foods. If you are planning to adopt this diet plan for your loved one, then you will be guiding them to eat whole grains, veggies, fruits and moderate amounts of nuts, legumes and fish.

MIND Diet and Mediterranean Diet are mostly similar, the major difference is that, MIND Diet focuses on green leafy vegetables and Mediterranean diet focuses on fruits, veggies, and three or more servings of fish in a week.

How does diet plans impact Alzheimer’s?

Aging and genetics are two important reasons for the development of Alzheimer’s. In addition to these, the food our seniors eat can also influence the risk for Alzheimer’s development. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests MIND and Mediterranean diets as the best to prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease. By adopting to a healthy diet style, aging population can reduce their risk for dementia and also have better cognitive functionality.

With a MIND diet or Mediterranean diet followed, our aging loved ones can reduce the production of plaques and tangles.

Seniors who consume an unbalanced diet are more likely to develop plaques and tangles than those who follow the MIND Diet or Mediterranean diet. While there is no definitive proof that these diets can prevent or cure Alzheimer’s disease, encouraging our loved ones to adopt these eating habits can lower the risk of cognitive decline and slow its progression.

Benefits of MIND Diet for Seniors

Improves Heart Health: Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and fish are among the foods included in the MIND diet plan that are known to be beneficial to heart health. Seniors can reduce their risk of developing heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions by following this diet plan.

Reduces the risk of cognitive decline: Research has shown that following the MIND diet plan can help seniors reduce their risk of cognitive decline. The diet is high in nutrients that are beneficial to brain health, such as vitamins E, B6, and B12, as well as folate and antioxidants.

Reduce the chances for Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The MIND diet has been linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The diet focuses on foods high in nutrients known to protect against these conditions, such as leafy green vegetables, berries, nuts, and fish.

Maintains healthy weight: The MIND diet plan encourages the consumption of nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, while limiting the consumption of foods that are high in calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats. This can assist seniors in maintaining a healthy weight and lowering their risk of obesity and related health issues.

Can be followed Easily: The MIND diet is simple to follow and does not necessitate complex meal planning or calorie counting. Therefore, seniors can eat a variety of healthy, delicious foods that are widely available in most grocery stores.

A MIND Diet Food List

Healthy Foods to be included

Foods to be taken in MIND DietNumber of Servings per week
Green leafy vegetablesAt least 6
BerriesAt least 2
NutsAt least 5
Whole grainsAt least 3
BeansAt least 3
FishAt least once
Olive OilTo be used as a primary oil
PoultryAt least twice
WineNot more than a glass

Foods that should be limited

Foods to LimitNumber of Servings not more than
Red meat 4 in a week
Fast food or fried products1 in a week
Butter1 tablespoon daily
CheeseOnce in a week
Sweets5 in a week

Benefits of Mediterranean Diet for Seniors

Maintains heart health: The Mediterranean diet is known to be heart-healthy because it includes foods high in heart-healthy nutrients. Following the Mediterranean diet has been shown in studies to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Promotes brain health: This diet plan has been linked to better cognitive function and a lower risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. The diet is high in nutrients known to promote brain health, such as vitamin E, and folate.

Supports Weight management: The diet is high in nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, while limiting high-calorie, processed foods. This can aid in weight loss and weight management, lowering the risk of obesity and related health problems.

Lowers inflammation: The Mediterranean diet contains anti-inflammatory foods such as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fibre. This can aid in the reduction of chronic inflammation, which is a risk factor for a variety of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.

Helps in Diabetes management: The Mediterranean diet is a good choice for diabetics because it includes foods with a low glycemic index and a high fibre content, which can help regulate blood sugar levels. Following the Mediterranean diet has been shown in studies to improve glycemic control and lower the risk of diabetes complications.

A Mediterranean Diet Food List

Foods that should be Limited

Foods to be taken in Mediterranean DietNumber of Servings
Fish  3 – 4 servings in a week  
Extra Virgin OilAt least 1 tablespoon per day 
Fruits3 servings per day  
Vegetables3 – 4 servings per day 
Legumes3 servings per day  
NutsAt least 3 servings per day  
Whole grains and leafy vegetables3-6 servings per day  

Both the MIND and Mediterranean diets have been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive decline disorders in seniors. These diets undoubtedly benefit senior in managing brain health, heart health, and overall well-being. Seniors can maintain a healthy weight and lower their risk of obesity and related health issues by eating nutrient-dense foods and limiting unhealthy foods.

Encouraging seniors to follow a MIND or Mediterranean diet will definitely help our loved ones to prevent or manage Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related cognitive decline disorders. Though the change seems to be a minor one, it can bring a significant impact on their health and well-being.

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