DVIDS – News – Awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease and the Effects of Nutrition, LTC Brenda D. White, MS, RD, LDN.

I remember like it was yesterday when I was a child going to my grandparent’s house in the country for a visit. My grandmother would always make me these wonderful flaky biscuits, complete with red hot links, and delicious buttercreams on her wood burning stove. When the meal was ready, she would say and I repeat, “Where are you baby? Come in here and eat to Bredly.” My grandmother was the only person who added “ly” to my name. I didn’t mind because I loved her, and she was very happy to see me eating all the biscuits by myself and I was happy to oblige.

Those days I spent in the company of my grandmother were the best but they became less and less as time went on. My grandfather died suddenly, and my aunt Bessie came to live with her. At first, I thought my aunt was there so my grandmother wouldn’t be alone. However, it became clearer as I continued to visit my grandmother why my aunt was there. I remember when my grandmother started to forget, walk out of the house, fight anyone who was lucky enough to get into her path, and continuously pick her right cheek. Her name was quickly forgotten to me. My mother and aunt called my grandmother’s condition, “The Disease of the Ancients”.

November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month; take time to moment by moment and reevaluate your daily habits. Do they consist of exercise and a healthy, wholesome intake of nutritious foods? Are your habits important? – YES, extensive research shows that our daily nutritional intake as well as the exercise regime can be key factors in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease or in slowing the progression of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s Disease.

To date, it is still considered a disease of the elderly, as only 5 to 8% of the population is diagnosed early each year. The medical term for this disease is Alzheimer’s Disease. It is a neurological disease characterized by a gradual decline in cognitive ability. There is currently no known cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, but there are medications that can slow the progression and manage the symptoms depending on the state/stage of the disease. Significantly, the effects of nutrition and different types of diets on the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease have been researched. The Mediterranean diet, the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND), and the Western Diet were extensively evaluated.

The Mediterranean diet consists mainly of fruit, vegetables, fish, bread, cereals, monounsaturated oils (olive oil / canola oil, etc.), legumes, nuts, beans, seeds with moderate amounts of dairy and poultry, limited amounts or recessed red. and processed meat, etc. These are foods that contain high amounts of antioxidants and phytochemicals – natural disease fighters. The concept, in simple terms. that is, eating foods associated with the Mediterranean diet may reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which helps protect brain cells and cognitive function.

The MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Diet. It consists mainly of whole grains, lots of berries and green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, monounsaturated fats (olive oil), moderate intake of poultry, and limited or restricted intake of red meat. The concept is the same for the MIND diet in that it may reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which will help protect brain cells and cognitive function.

Both the Mediterranean and MIND diets have neuroprotective factors. It has a high content of potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, moderate protein, etc., with a reduced amount of sodium, saturated fat, and simple sugars.

The Western diet consists of those wonderful biscuits, red hot links, and buttery grits that my grandmother made for me as a child. There is an excessive amount of saturated fats, simple sugars, cholesterol, sodium, etc. in the diet, but lacks whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, those wonderful essential fatty acids – 3, 6, and 9. There is also a gradual decline as the body ages age on the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the port – those natural disease fighters found in the Mediterranean and MIND diets.

Consider making long-term dietary changes such as the Mediterranean or MIND diet and consider Western diet foods as occasional food.

1. WHO. Global Health Observatory (GHO) data: the 10 leading causes of death. (2017) [last accessed 3 Nov 2023]. http://www.who.int/gho/mortality_burden_disease/causes_death/top_10/en/.
2. Albrahim, T. (2020). The potential role of nutritional components in improving brain function among patients with Alzheimer’s disease: a meta-analysis of RCT studies. Neurosciences. 25, 4–17.
3. Solch, RJ, Aigbogun JO, Voyiadjis AG, Talkington GM, Darensbourg RM, Connell, S, Pickett, KM, Perez, SR. (2022). Adherence to the Mediterranean diet, gut microbiota, and risk of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease: A systematic review. Journal of Neurological Sciences., 1-15.
4. Marchand NE, Jensen MK. (2018). The role of dietary and lifestyle factors in maintaining cognitive health. Am J Lifestyle Med;12 (4):268–85.
5. Lou IX, Ali K, Chen Q. (2023). Effect of nutrition in Alzheimer’s disease: a systematic review. Begin. Neurosci. 17:1147177.
6. Van den Brink A, Brouwer-Brolsma E, Berendsen A, van de Rest, O. (2019). The Mediterranean approach, diet to stop hypertension (DASH, and Mediterranean-DASH intervention for delayed neurodegeneration (MIND) diets are associated with less cognitive decline and lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease – A review. ASN. 1-26:1040).

Date Taken: 11.20.2023
Date Posted: 11.20.2023 14:37
Story ID: 458232

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