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Dementia and Nutrition

By April 3, 2015Archives

For many people suffering from dementia, a well-balanced diet is hard to come by. They can simply forget to eat or even have trouble using utensils. However, it’s important to keep a nutritious diet because it can prevent weight loss and behavioral symptoms. It can even slow cognitive decline. Therefore, when cooking for someone who suffers from dementia, it’s important to realize these few things:

Offer A Wide Variety Of Foods
The more options they receive, the better. It’s important to keep a balanced diet whether you have some form of cognitive decline or not. When preparing meals, make sure you include fruits and vegetables that are colorful. The brighter they are, the more nutrients they contain. Proteins are also essential because they help the body repair themselves. Nuts have a high amount of protein and peanut butter is also a good source of protein. It’s also important to consume whole grains. These aid with fiber intake and keep the digestive system working properly. If you include all of these things in each meal, your elderly loved one will age healthily and happily.

Reduce Refined Sugars
What are refined sugars? They are overly processed foods where all of the essential vitamins and nutrients are removed. Sugars are an empty carb meaning they provide no nutritional value to the human body. So how do you cut back on them? Your best bet is to start reading labels. Unfortunately, food companies will not be so straightforward. Any label with the ingredients fructose, glucose, sucrose, or high fructose corn syrup should be avoided. It’s best to stick to natural, organic foods if you’re truly concerned for your senior loved one’s diet.

Limit Saturated Fats
Fats are essential to the human body. However, there are good fats and bad fats. Bad fats include trans fats and saturated fats that will increase cholesterol. The good fats that you want to include in your senior’s diet include canola oil, olive oil, and fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and trout. Fish also includes omegas that help with brain health. They are great for your senior’s health.

A common myth is that fat-free foods equal a healthier diet. This is not the case. You still need to be aware when purchasing fat-free foods because they often contain higher levels of sugars. The empty calories are bad for anyone’s health. Nevertheless, if you consciously check labels as you peruse around the grocery store, if you offer a well balanced meal for your elderly loved one, and if you knock out the bad fats and empty calories, your senior loved one will age in a much better manner and you can even help prevent further cognitive decline in those who have dementia.

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