Doctors have been saying for years that what you eat can affect the health of your heart. Now there’s growing evidence that the same is true for your brain. A new study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago shows a diet plan they developed — appropriately called the MIND diet — may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 53 percent. Even those who didn’t stick to the diet perfectly but followed it “moderately well” reduced their risk of Alzheimer’s by about a third. Diet appears to be just one of “many factors that play into who gets the disease,” said nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris, PhD, the lead author of the MIND diet study. Genetics and other factors like smoking, exercise and education also play a role. But the MIND diet helped slow the rate of cognitive decline and protect against Alzheimer’s regardless of other risk factors.
Regular, nutritious meals may become a challenge for people with dementia. As a person’s cognitive function declines, he or she may become overwhelmed with too many food choices, forget to eat or have difficulty with eating utensils. Proper nutrition is important to keep the body strong and healthy. For a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia, poor nutrition may increase behavioral symptoms and cause weight loss. The basic nutrition tips below can help boost the person with dementia’s health and your health as a caregiver, too. People with Alzheimer’s or dementia do not need a special diet. As with anyone, eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet is important for overall health. Staying hydrated may be a problem as well. Encourage fluids by offering small cups of water or other liquids throughout the day or foods with high water content, such as fruit, soups, milkshakes and smoothies. Possible Causes of Poor Appetite Not recognizing food.
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