Alzheimer’s disease is not a natural part of aging. It is the most common cause of progressive dementia, due to the degeneration of nerve cells in the brain and shrinkage of brain matter. Risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease is increased by older age, genetic factors and several medical risks factors. Many studies have also suggested that dietary and life style factors may influence risk, raising the possibility that preventive strategies for Alzheimer’s disease. Persons with Alzheimer’s disease have impaired ability to recognize hunger, thrust or satiety. They are prone to dehydration.
The clinical manifestations of Alzheimer’s Disease along with nutrition related changes are divided in three stages:-
- Stage 1 Alzheimer’s Disease – There is an increased forgetfulness, anxiety, and depression associated with nutrition related changes including difficulty in food preparation, forgetting to eat, taste and smell changes, altered food choices and impaired appetite regulation.
- Stage 2 Alzheimer’s Disease – There is a memory loss, disorientation and a personality change occurs. Dietary manifestation includes an increase in energy requirements as a result of agitation, holding food in mouth, forgetting to eat and swallow, etc.
- Stage 3 Alzheimer’s Disease – This is characterized by severe mental confusion, psychosis, memory loss, personal neglect and distinct feeding problems.
Dietary guidelines that prevent Alzheimer’s Disease:
- Reduce the intake of saturated fats and Trans fats: – Saturated fat and trans fats are found in dairy fats, butter, coconut oil, palm oil, cream, cheese, ghee, lard, margarine, vanaspati ghee (hydrogenated fat), beef, pork, lamb, etc. Tran’s fatty acids are also formed during normal cooking and frying (especially reheating of oil).
- Eat vegetarian foods:- Eat plant based foods such as whole grains (whole wheat flour, Dalia, oatmeal, corn, jawar, bajra, etc), pulses and legumes (beans, peas, lentil, green gram, red gram, etc), green vegetables, green leafy vegetables, fruits, etc.
- Eat vitamin E rich foods: – Intake of vitamin E rich foods e.g. seeds, nuts, green leafy vegetables and whole grains etc are helpful to prevent it. Vitamin E supplements are not suggested.
- Avoid the uses of aluminum cookware, antacids, baking powder or other products that contain aluminum.
- Avoid vitamins supplements with iron and copper.
Conclusion: The MIND diet (Mediterranean Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) is a hybrid of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). This diet is a composition of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products that help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.