Over the last few years, doctors have learned an incredible amount about the biological mechanisms behind dementia and how this pervasive condition develops. While diet most likely won’t cause dementia, some foods and drinks can exacerbate some of the symptoms, which is just one of the reasons you should keep a close eye on your aging loved one’s diet from the moment he or she is diagnosed with this condition.
Margarine & Other Processed Dairy Products
Low-fat foods became extremely popular a few decades ago, resulting in a huge increase in margarine sales. However, studies have revealed margarine and other highly processed dairy products can be very hard on the brain because of the additives and chemicals they’re made with. One study carried out at the University of Minnesota found the additive known as diacetyl will sometimes speed up the progression of dementia and worsen the symptoms.
Many seniors with dementia find it challenging to plan and prepare meals that optimize their long-term health. In Clearwater, home care service providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Even seniors who haven’t been diagnosed with dementia should avoid sugary drinks as much as possible. Options such as soda and sports drinks can increase the risk of health complications, ranging from type 2 diabetes to heart disease. Over time, consuming sugary drinks increases the brain’s insulin resistance as well, making it difficult to produce new synapses and neurons. As an alternative to soda, you might want to give your loved one carbonated water that has been flavored with one or two slices of fresh fruit.
Studies continue to show processed meats are very hard on the body, and those products should only be eaten on rare occasions. Most processed meats contain an additive known as nitrosamine, which triggers the production of toxic fats in the liver. Those fats eventually make their way to the brain and cause an incredible amount of damage. As a general rule, older adults should stick to freshly cooked meats or meats that have been roasted instead of cured. You should also check the ingredient lists on all packaged products.
Trained caregivers can encourage healthy eating habits and help seniors with dementia avoid foods that can be harmful. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
While most experts agree carbohydrates are a vital part of any healthy diet, many of them now suggest everyone should avoid refined and simple carbs as much as possible, including products such as white bread, white sugar, fruit juices, white rice, candy, and sugary cereals. Researchers believe refined carbs are one of the biggest risk factors for brain inflammation, which has been directly linked to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
For the average healthy adult, the occasional drink isn’t going to have any negative health consequences. That being said, heavy alcohol consumption has been directly linked to dementia. When an individual has more than a few servings of alcohol per day, his or her brain is going to become chronically inflamed. Heavy drinking also worsens some of the most common symptoms of dementia, including memory loss, confusion, and personality changes.
Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Clearwater families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life. If your loved one needs assistance with the challenges of aging, reach out to one of our knowledgeable, compassionate Care Managers today at (727) 330-7862.