DEMENTIA | THE ROLE OF DIET IN THE PREVENTION OF DEMENTIA
Dementia refers to a range of symptoms which include memory loss and impaired cognitive capacity beyond what might be expected due to ageing per se. Dementia is a common condition in the ageing population and the risk of its development increases with age. Dementia affects 1 in 50 people aged 65-70 years and 1 in 5 people over the age of 80. The two most common forms of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
Symptoms of dementia
Symptoms of dementia vary from person to person. Common symptoms include:
- Memory loss
- Difficulties with thinking
- Difficulties with problem-solving
- Impaired language capacity
- Changes in mood or behaviour
Contributing factors to dementia
Multiple factors are believed to contribute to dementia. These include:
- Genetic factors
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Raised blood-pressure
- Mid-life obesity
- History of stroke
Is there a protective diet?
The food that we eat has the power to promote our brain health. On the other hand consuming an unhealthy diet, particularly consumption of unhealthy fats and refined sugars, can have detrimental effects on the health of our brain cells.
A diet that has been created to contain “brain cell protective nutrients” is the MIND diet. This diet is composed of foods such as:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Whole grains
- Olive oil
- And moderate wine
This diet lacks 5 food categories which are considered unhealthy in terms of brain health. These are:
- Red meats
- Butter and stick margarine
- Pastries and sweets
- Fried/fast food
Consumption of such a diet has been shown in scientific studies to help prevent/ delay the progression of dementia.
As obesity and high-blood pressure increase the risk of dementia, weight loss and management of high-blood pressure, through making appropriate dietary changes, can also help with prevention of dementia.
How can our services support you?
Our Dietician can provide you with a diet that contains foods known to promote brain health, and support you through your weight loss if you are overweight/obese. If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, she can also help you manage your blood pressure through making changes in your dietary habit.
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