Alzheimer’s disease generally begins with what normally appears to be a simple forgetfulness, but it creates much more havoc over time, compromising with speech, comprehension, and coordination and causing restlessness and dramatic mood swings among patients.
The right kind of diet may delay the onset of the disease or lower the risk by as much as 40 per cent.
SUGGESTED FOODS TO MITIGATE THE ONSET OF EARLY ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE:
Mediterranean- DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay Diet (MIND): MIND diet will delay the neurodegenerative disease and hence slow cognitive decline. The foods which you may include in the diet are whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, beery, poultry, seafood, and olive oil. One must also keep a check on the intake of processed food.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Since high levels of DHA are needed for normal brain development, it is recommended to have fatty fish. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids of all varieties – including walnuts, flaxseed, and olive oil – counter inflammation, which may contribute to protein build-up in the brain.
Foods rich in vitamins C and E: The by-product of all of the chemical reactions in the brains are free radicals, unstable molecules that damage cells, possibly accelerating mental decline. Foods which contain antioxidants help to neutralize those free radicals. Eating plenty of food items rich in vitamin C (like oranges, broccoli, and strawberries) and vitamin E (like olive oil and almonds) may help to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer.
Foods and beverages high in flavonoids: Apples, blueberries, cranberries, and grapefruit are mainly the flavonoid-rich fruits. Vegetables which boast flavonoids include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, garlic, kidney beans, onions, peas, and spinach.
Foods high in folate: Deficiency of certain B vitamins, particularly folate can make it difficult to perform some cognitive tasks. This amino acid impairs brain function and can drastically increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (as well as cardiac disease) in a person. The folate from vegetables like dark leafy greens and dried beans may slow the process of cognitive decline.
Turmeric: Curcumin, nutrient found in turmeric, has been associated with improvement in cognitive function in some smaller studies
Berries: Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are the powerhouse of antioxidants, which may benefit brain function by protecting it from oxidative stress.
Seeds: Sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds all contain antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin E, zinc, omega-3, and choline that help to diminish the decline of cognitive health. Snack on these seeds by themselves, sprinkle on salads, or sneak them into desserts like pudding and muffins to gain the maximum benefit and improve brain health.
UNDERSTAND THE SIGNS WHICH MAY HELP TO DETECT ALZHEIMER’S IN EARLY STAGES:
• Memory loss that disrupts daily life
• Challenges in planning or solving problems
• Difficulty completing familiar tasks
• Confusion with time or place
• Trouble understanding visual images
• Problems with in speaking or writing
• Often misplacing things and losing the capability to retrace path
• Poor decision making
• Withdrawal from work or social activities
• Changes in mood and personality
• Difficulty finding the right words
(This story is written by Dr Manish Gupta Senior Consultant, Department of Neurology, Jaypee Hospital, Noida. For more health-related stories, visit HealthShots.com)