With all the recent talk about dementia in the news lately due to the fact that life expectancy has increased meaning that there will be a higher percentage of people over the age of 70 suffering from dementia, I thought I would put together a small and simple post. Dementia affects the brain, affecting memory, especially short term memory. As dementia progresses the person will experience agitation, confusion, loss of logic and co – ordination, will forget names and not be able to recognise family members and friends which makes it so heart breaking and sad. There are different forms of dementia with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common. What many people do not realise is that onset of disease does not happen over night. It is a build up over a lifetime of lifestyle and diet. How you live your life in your 20s, 30s, 40s, etc. will have an impact on your health later on in life.
Absent – mindedness
Trouble learning new things
social and intellectual impairment
Later stages of the disease:
Loss of memory
Not remembering who you are
Not remembering family and friends
Detachment from surroundings
Speech becomes impaired
Become bed bound
Some Contributing Factors
Metal toxicity especially aluminium and mercury
Fatty deposits build up on blood vessel walls
Not enough blood supply to the brain
Too much of the stress hormone cortisol in the body
Trauma to the head ( accident, injury, sports like boxing)
Stroke ( this does not always lead to dementia)
Alcohol and drug abuse
Foods to avoid:
All processed foods
Refined sugar – white bread, white pasta, cakes, biscuits
All food stored and heated food in aluminium containers
Reduce saturated fats
Consume alcohol and caffeine in moderation
Foods to include:
The brain is made up of around 60% fats so EFAs – Essential fatty acids are very important for brain health. Most common sources:
Flaxseed oil – you can put in salads or a tablespoon in some orange juice. Never heat flax seed oil. Only use cold.
Flax seeds, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame seeds
A vital brain nutrient called Acetylcholine that is found in oats, cabbage and cauliflower.
Lecithin granules sprinkled on salads, porridge, smoothies and cereals
Good circulation is essential for brain function. You need good blood supply to the brain otherwise it will starve. This is why it is important to exercise regularly and keep fit. Find the exercise that works for you, even if all you do is just 30 minutes a day it is good. Ball room dancing is another fun way of exercising especially for older people.
Avoid storing and heating aluminium containers. Avoid all kitchen utensils and pans. Aluminium can also be found in certain deodorants, cosmetics, toothpaste and baking powder.
Keep your brain active by exercising it on a regular basis. It is not just your body that needs exercise. Crosswords and doing daily arithmetic exercises are great for the brain.
Useful books to read:
The Better Brain Book by David Perlmutter and Carol Colman.
The Alzheimer’s Preventation Plan by Patrick Holdford
Hope the above information is helpful. I am a qualified nutritional therapist and naturopath and I offer online consultations, so please feel free to email me should you require a bespoke nutritional plan.