World Alzheimer’s Day is observed every year on September 21 across the globe to raise awareness about the disease and challenge the stigma surrounding it. Vani Krishna, Chief Clinical Nutritionist, Columbia Asia Hospital, defines Alzheimer’s as a “progressive disorder that causes the brain cells to degenerate and die. It is also known as senile dementia.”
According to Ms Krishna, the major symptoms of the disease include memory loss, asking the same questions often, difficulty in problems solving, mathematical calculation, and disorientation with time, date and place. Where there is no evidence as to what exactly causes Alzheimer’s Disease, there is much evidence that eating right and exercising can ward off various health diseases. “Eating a balanced diet with exercise, social engagement, etc. helps the individual to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s,” explained the nutritionist.
Here is a list of superfoods that will help you alleviate the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and improve cognitive function, according to Nutritionist Vani Krishna.
- Mediterranean- DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay Diet (MIND) : “MIND diet will delay the neurodegenerative disease and thus slow cognitive decline,” explained Ms Krishna. The foods you can incorporate in your diet include whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, beery, poultry, seafood, and olive oil. You should also curb the “intake of processed food.”
- Omega-3 fatty acids : Omega-3 fatty acids found in fishes such as salmon, sardines and mackerel are great for cognitive improvement. “Eating omega-3 fatty acid will reduce the beta-amyloid plaque accumulation in the neurons, which is the major reason for Alzheimer’s disorder.”
- Green Vegetables : Green vegetables like dark greens, broccoli, kale, etc. are loaded with vitamin A and C, which provides a host of health benefits, including boosting your brain functioning.
- Berries : Dt. Vani recommends eating berries, which are rich in antioxidants that allow the brain cells to work better and slow the degeneration process.
Some other tips by the nutritionist to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s:
- Allow plenty of time to eat as it can be difficult for a person suffering from Alzheimer’s to chew properly.
- Include a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains and lean meats in their diet.
- Encourage giving fluids such as fresh fruit juice, homemade soups and milkshakes.
- Avoid foods high in sodium. Limit the intake of salt.
- Limit the intake of saturated fats like lard, fatty cut meats, etc.
- Avoid refined sugars.
- Avoid foods which are difficult to swallow, including raw vegetables.
- Serve food in big bowls and plates. .You can also grind or make small pieces to make it easy for a person with Alzheimer’s to eat and swallow.