Currently, there’s no definitive cause of Alzheimer’s or any foolproof way of avoiding it. However, researchers have found certain behaviors are linked to a higher or lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s in old age, so seniors can adjust their habits if they’re concerned. Things such as drugs, exercise, and chemical exposure can affect Alzheimer’s risk, but food is one of the biggest influences. Here are five food facts that are closely linked to the likelihood of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
1. Low Sodium Is Better
One of the first things doctors recommend for seniors concerned about Alzheimer’s disease is cutting back on sodium-rich foods. A high-sodium diet can lead to increased blood pressure, which can do a lot of damage to the delicate blood vessels in the brain. To reduce sodium intake, seniors may need to start checking nutritional labels. Items such as deli meats, pickles, canned vegetables, and other processed foods often contain very high amounts of sodium.
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2. Fatty Fish Increases Brain Blood Flow
Fatty fish contains a variety of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of beneficial fat that’s linked to lower cholesterol, reduced inflammation, and better brain health. According to 2017 research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, seniors who eat these beneficial fats have increased blood flow to regions of the brain most likely to be affected by Alzheimer’s.
3. Saturated & Trans Fats Can Be Bad
Seniors may also want to avoid anything containing saturated fats or trans fats. These unhealthy fats can cause the body to experience higher levels of inflammation and oxidative stress. Over time, these heightened levels of stress and inflammation can cause damage to brain cells, so they’re linked to higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease. Saturated fats are typically found in animal products and processed foods. Things such as greasy chips, red meat, cheese, and fatty pork may cause problems.
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4. Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Provide Antioxidants
Fresh fruits and vegetables are an important part of reducing Alzheimer’s risk due to the concentrated levels of antioxidants found in many kinds of produce. These protective compounds prevent oxidative damage from gradually wearing down brain cells. Typically, any foods that are darker or brighter in color, such as dark leafy greens, berries, tomatoes, and squash, will have higher levels of antioxidants, but just about any fresh fruit or vegetable can be beneficial.
5. Plant-Based Fat Boosts Brain Health
One of the diets most thoroughly studied for its effects on reducing Alzheimer’s risk is the Mediterranean diet, which puts a heavy emphasis on eating plant-based fats. These fats are great for brain health because they ensure seniors get plenty of fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K without consuming more cholesterol. Some good ways to get plant-based fats include eating avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.
If you’re the primary caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, you don’t have to go through it alone. Without the right assistance, Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors and their families to handle. If you’re looking for professional Alzheimer’s care, Columbus Home Care Assistance provides high-quality care aging adults and their families can count on. All of our hourly and live-in caregivers are trained to help seniors with Alzheimer’s live happier and healthier lives, and we also provide specialized dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. If your loved one needs assistance with the challenges of aging, reach out to one of our knowledgeable, compassionate Care Managers today at (614) 481-8888.