Proper Nutrition for Seniors: Can
the Mediterranean Diet Lower the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is an illness of the elderly. This is one of the reasons many people fear aging. They fear cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive disorder that causes brain cells to degenerate and die. The worst thing about it is its possible progression to dementia. Is there a way to avoid it? Can the Mediterranean diet offer proper nutrition for seniors?
Many believe that a Mediterranean diet can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, a nutritional approach to preventing the progression of Alzheimer’s is a promising strategy that deserves an investigation.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is a meal plan in which food items include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish—food items that have established health benefits for the heart. Unknown to many, this type of diet is also healthy for the brain.
Mediterranean Diet and Alzheimer’s
Studies show individuals that follow a Mediterranean diet have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Some notable positive effects of this diet include:
- Lowering the incidence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI is a stage between cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s or dementia.
- Slowing down cognitive decline in the elderly.
- Lessening the possibility of progression of MCI to Alzheimer’s.
While these possibilities are certain, it is unclear what characteristics of the diet help in protecting the brain.
Existing Theories about Diet and Alzheimer’s Disease
What are the current theories about diet and Alzheimer’s? Experts theorized that the effect may be due to the healthy food choices of those who follow the diet. This improves cholesterol and blood sugar levels and blood vessel health. A healthy blood vessel then lower the risk for Alzheimer’s. It could also because this diet helps inhibits tissue loss in the brain.
Can the Mediterranean diet provide the proper nutrition for seniors? These pieces of evidence are not enough to ascertain whether the Mediterranean diet can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This is because most of the studies relied only on dietary questionnaires by chosen subjects. The same subject that may have trouble recalling and distinguishing food intake.
Past studies have also shown that modifiable, environmental cause of Alzheimer’s disease can be corrected by dietary modification and nutritional supplementation. For other causes, the connection between diet and Alzheimer’s is still difficult to establish.
In conclusion, more clinical trials are necessary to establish the degree of how a Mediterranean diet can provide the proper nutrition for seniors that therefore lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. For now, following a healthy diet is mandatory to maintain a healthy heart and brain. If you need help with preparing healthy meals for your senior loved one every day, you may hire a caregiver that provides hourly care.