10 Foods That Can Help Fight Dementia
In one of our previous blogs, we discussed the benefits of a Mediterranean diet for rheumatoid arthritis. The good news is that researchers have also found that the Mediterranean diet can also help protect you against dementia.
Extra-virgin, cold pressed olive oil is a key aspect of the Mediterranean diet which is also high in fruits, vegetables, legumes (like chickpeas and lentils), nuts, seeds, fish and herbs and spices. It is low in processed foods, added sugars, salt and red meat.
A focus on fish and vegetables over red meat is another key feature of the Mediterranean diet. Vegetables are recommended at each meal, with at least two servings of fish (150-200g serves per week) with a focus on oily fish such as mackerel and salmon.
Matthew Parrott, a scientist at the PERFORM research centre at Concordia University in Montreal, and Carol Greenwood, a senior scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute in Toronto examined combinations of foods which provide the best protection against cognitive decline. They are working on a Brain Health Food Guide that gives top billing to some staples of the Mediterranean diet, which has been linked to a 35 percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Studies show that adults aged 50 plus who followed a similar eating plan for four years did not experience any memory loss,” says Parrott. There are short-term gains, too. “After only four months on this type of eating plan, adults performed as if they were nine years younger on reading and writing speed tests,” says Greenwood.
The key, they say, is to eat certain quantities of all of these foods as often as possible, while limiting the intake of red meat, processed products and baked goods. Here are the foods that made the cut:
1) Raw leafy greens
Darker greens, such as spinach, kale and romaine have brain-boosting antioxidants and vitamin K, so try to eat one cup daily.
2) Cruciferous vegetables
Broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts are high in vitamin K and glucosinolates, which have an antioxidant effect. Include at least three 1/2 cup servings in your diet a week.
All berries have a positive effect on brain health, but blueberries have been studied the most. They contain flavonoids, which activate brain pathways associated with less cellular aging. Try to consume 1/2 cup of any berries three times a week.
It’s unknown exactly what makes beans, lentils and chickpeas good for brain health, but it’s likely due to a combination of antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Include 1/2 cup in your diet as a replacement for red meat at least twice a week.
Unsalted nuts are high in antioxidants and healthy fats. Walnuts are particularly high in omega-3 fatty acid, a brain-protective nutrient. Aim for 1/4 cup of nuts, or two tablespoons of nut butter, daily.
The iodine and iron in all types of fish are thought to help maintain cognitive function. Fattier fish, like salmon and trout, also contain brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids. Choose them at least once a week.
7) Whole grains
Choose fibre-rich whole grains like oats, brown rice and whole grain wheat to offset your intake of refined grains.
Substitute chicken for red or processed meat as often as you can (but only one serving a day).
9) Low-fat dairy
Opt for 1% or skim milk and yogurt, or cheese with 22% milk fat or less.
10) Olive oil
Use this as your main oil for cooking and in salad dressing. It contains monounsaturated fats and vitamin E, as well as antioxidants.
For more details read the whole article link: https://www.chatelaine.com/health/foods-that-fight-dementia/