Although most seniors with Alzheimer’s aren’t required to follow special diets, there are foods they should avoid and nutrients they need to eat more frequently. Eating well-balanced meals and nutritious snacks can boost brain function, alleviate stress, reduce the risk of depression, and slow the progression of the disease. Here’s what a healthy meal plan for seniors with Alzheimer’s should include.
Lots of Vegetables and Fruits
Vegetables and fruits are memory-boosting foods that keep the body healthy and boost cognitive health. Most fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants that fight against toxins linked to Alzheimer’s. During the middle and late stages of the disease, seniors may have difficulty swallowing and chewing, which is why you should consider pureeing your aging loved one’s meals or cutting them into bite-sized pieces, especially fruits and vegetables.
These are the best fruits and vegetables to add to a meal plan for a senior with Alzheimer’s:
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Red wine contains resveratrol, which is a natural compound that belongs to the group of nutrients called polyphenols. Resveratrol is full of anti-aging properties that fight against free radicals. Consuming red wine or foods with this compound can protect the brain from the effects of Alzheimer’s and slow the progression of the disease. Make sure your loved one only drinks one glass of wine each day. Moderation is often the key to effectiveness when it pertains to drinking red wine as well as eating nutritious meals and snacks.
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Your loved one’s meal plan should include fatty fish like tuna, salmon, and sardines. The oils in fish can reduce shrinkage in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus, which are areas of the brain that control memory and thinking abilities. Eating fatty fish at least once or twice per week can increase focus, boost brain function, and reduce stress. In addition to adding oily fish to your loved one’s meal plan, avoid serving processed meats, such as ham, sausage, hot dogs, and bacon.
No Sugary Foods or Beverages
Consuming too much sugar can lead to high blood pressure, which can speed up cognitive decline and make symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s worse. Therefore, your loved one’s meal plan should include items that lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes. Keep in mind that excessive amounts of sugar prevent the body from producing enough of the insulin-degrading enzyme that breaks down amyloid plaques in the brain. Beta-amyloid is a toxic protein that collects between neurons in the brain and disrupts cell function.
Some of the sugary foods and beverages seniors with Alzheimer’s should avoid are:
• Energy drinks
• Sweetened teas
• Fruit juices
Without the right assistance, Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors and their families to manage. If you’re looking for professional Alzheimer’s care, Sonoma County 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. Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate, professional care for your loved one. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (707) 843.4368.