Dementia is a term for a significant decline in mental ability, causing symptoms such as memory loss, behavior changes and loss of language skills. There are many different forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and vascular dementia.
Preventing dementia can be difficult, but studies show that staying active, drinking less, quitting smoking and keeping your mind sharp can all help. There’s also promising research that indicates one day, klotho proteins may help fight dementia, too.
Here are a handful of healthy foods with a reputation for keeping our minds sharp:
That’s right! Your morning cup of joe isn’t a crutch, after all. Caffeine is loaded with brain-boosting benefits, and has been shown to benefit spatial memory, working memory and memory in general.
Most research indicates that drinking anywhere from three to five cups of coffee a day is a healthy habit. Your healthcare provider can suggest what amount is most appropriate for you.
Does this list feel too good to be true? It’s not!
Dark chocolate has been shown to reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Just keep in mind that when most physicians recommend dark chocolate, they don’t mean as much as you want. Your doctor can help you decide if and how much dark chocolate is right for you, as some people’s bodies don’t handle sugar the same as others.
Cinnamon is a common and delicious seasonings that will add depth to your cooking while helping prevent dementia, too.
Several studies conducted on mice have shown that cinnamon breaks down the protein buildup in the brain that’s linked to Alzheimer’s disease. It also improves memory and other cognitive function. You can add cinnamon to your coffee, your fruit, your oatmeal and even your soups, stews and marinades.
- Leafy Greens
Every week, try to pack in six or more hearty servings of leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, collards or broccoli. While eating these vitamin A- and C-rich foods once or twice a week is good, eating them daily unlocks their brain-boosting powers.
Berries are delicious, nutritious and great for the brain. Blueberries and strawberries in particular are high on our list, as they may help fight the cognitive decline that occurs as we age. These flavonoid-packed fruits feature both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, allowing them to fight stress and inflammation.
As you plan your weekly meals, strive to include a few servings of omega-3 fatty acid rich fish like salmon, tuna, halibut, trout and even sardines. These types of fish are great for your brain and your overall health, too.
Eating lobster can also help keep your omega-3 levels in check. Plus, lobsters have other nutritional benefits, such as supplying essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12, zinc, and selenium, which are all vital for keeping your body ticking along just right.
There are a variety of things that can help prevent dementia, including exercise, brain training and healthy eating. Researchers are looking at the properties of klotho proteins in order to develop therapies that can help prevent dementia in the future. For now, keeping these helpful diet tips in mind can go a long way in helping your brain stay active and alert.
See our many resources to help with Dementia Care.