A proper diet is essential for health care, but nourishment can become an issue when dealing with someone who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Those with Alzheimer’s commonly experience weight loss due to a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons include lack of appetite, difficulties cooking or communicating hunger, and even swallowing. When dealing with an Alzheimer’s patient, it is not only crucial to pay attention to the appetite of the person, but also to the foods they intake. Some foods, however, shine above the rest. These foods are called superfoods. So what makes a food, well, super? Superfoods are characterized by being packed with nutrient powerhouses such as antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and polyphenols, and some superfoods can even improve memory for those with Alzheimer's.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids & Antioxidants
Although there is no cure yet for Alzheimer’s, there are steps we can take to reduce our chances of developing the disease. Superfoods for Alzheimer’s patients, in particular, contain many nutritional benefits that support brain health. Omega 3 Fatty Acids cannot be produced within the human body and must be consumed through other means. They are found in cold water fish, such salmon, halibut, tuna, mackerel and sardines. These fatty acids can also be found in beans, flax seeds, some nuts and healthy oils. DHA, one of the omega 3-fatty acids has been known to positively affect brain health. Antioxidants, on the other hand, can be manmade or found in other foods. Antioxidants are most commonly found in berries and dark skinned fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, oranges, and plums. Antioxidants can even be found in coffee and chocolate. The caffeine in both chocolate and coffee can also aid in memory improvement.
Green, Leafy Vegetables, Oh My!
"Make sure to eat your broccoli!" We have all heard this before. Vegetables have been superfoods before the word superfood gained its recent popularity! But not all vegetables are made the same. Dark, leafy greens such as spinach, broccoli, and kale are packed with nourishing vitamins that improve brain health. The reason is still unclear. However, many believe that the folate in these foods help lower an amino acid, homocysteine, in the blood. High levels of homocysteine can cause nerve cells in the brain to die.
Look at every meal as an opportunity to nourish your body and mind. With all the information we have access to today, we can plan to improve our diet with every meal. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer's, but if we can improve our memory simply by the foods we eat, that is a tremendous step in the right direction!