Does food matter for Alzheimer’s disease?

The short answer is “yes”, it definitely matters! The biggest impact that food could have is in prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. According to lead neurologists, Dean and Ayesha Sherzai, up to 90% of Alzheimer’s disease is preventable through lifestyle changes. 90%!! Learning this changed so many things for me, including how I thought about food as well as a new love for incorporating brain loving foods in my diet. 

MIND Diet 

MIND Diet for dementia prevention

This groundbreaking diet stands for Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay – a bit of a mouthful! This eating pattern is a blend of the mediterranean diet (one of the most well studied diet patterns) and the DASH diet. The researchers combined these two diets and 

adjusted them based on research findings in the field of diet and dementia. 

Specifically, this way of eating focuses on including servings of green leafy veggies, other veggies, berries, whole grains, beans and nuts; it also included fish once per week as well as poultry a couple of times per week; note that the fish and poultry were not fried and were consumed at home, versus in takeout or restaurant dishes. The MIND diet also recommends limiting the consumption of red meat, red meat products, butter, cheese, fried foods, pastries and sweets (by the way, the “sweets” category includes frappes; sugary coffee-like drinks can easily add up and yet are often forgotten when we think about what we’re “eating”). Note that this diet advises these foods be “limited”; it’s important to note that complete restriction of certain foods often leads to an unhealthy pattern of restricting and binging. It’s important to understand that all food can fit; however, you may need assistance from a coach in order to learn how to listen to your body and incorporate all kinds of foods. 

If you’d like to dive into this topic more fully, I cover food for Alzheimer’s prevention and brain health, in my article with the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. You can find my list of the top 10 foods for brain health here

Not Just For Seniors

Heart Healthy Berries

Alzheimer’s risk reduction is often associated with the elderly, but those in mid-life need to start thinking about their brain health! If you’re in your 30s, 40s and beyond, your brain could be slowly changing and developing Alzheimer’s disease, you simply don’t know it. And if you’re looking for further motivation, following the

MIND or Mediterranean diet patterns appear to be helpful for a more pleasant menopause experience!

Menopause Matters

Considering around 50% of the population will experience a transition to menopause, the education around this shift is lacking (or non-existent!).

Menopause is arguably the biggest hormonal shift women will experience, the other big shift being puberty. Could you imagine if we let puberty happen without ANY education? It would be so confusing, scary and isolating for our young girls…and yet this is what we do to women. If you’re over 40, chances are you’re already experiencing some hormonal shifts on the way to menopause (p.s. this phase is called peri menopause). 

Perhaps you’re scratching your head saying “I thought we were talking about Alzheimer’s why have we taken a hard left into menopause?” Great question! 

Greens for hormone support

What we do in our 30s and 40s has a massive impact on our future health – including hormone and brain health. What we choose to eat can support both of these as we move through the menopause transition.

Women Are At Higher Risk For Alzheimer’s

61.8% of those living with dementia are women, according to the Alzheimer’s statistics for Canada. American statistics show women at age 45 have a 1 in 5 lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s, while men have 1 in 10 lifetime risk at the same age. Women are at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s and the reasons for this aren’t clear yet. 

Meal Prep

Women are guaranteed to go through menopause, spending 40-50% of their lives in menopause. This is worth paying attention to – especially when the symptoms of menopause (also felt in peri menopause) can vary from fatigue to low libido to hot flushes to mood swings (and more!).

Food Matters 

Shifting eating patterns to more closely resemble the MIND or Mediterranean diet guidelines is one way women can help mitigate some menopause symptoms AND support better brain health. Not only can women support and improve their menopause experience, they can experience a “younger brain” by including greens, green veggies, other veggies, berries, beans, whole grains, fish once per week, occasional poultry and using olive oil as their oil of choice. This list of foods lends itself to a variety of delicious meals that can become a regular pattern, once it becomes a habit to cook and eat this way.

Don’t step into the menopause transition alone, there are many resources and a community of like minded women out there!

If you’re ready to experience a more peaceful path to menopause, book a call using the button below. We can chat and see if my 12 week signature program,  is a good fit for you. This step-by-step formula is for ambitious women who suffer from mood swings, hot flushes, sleepless nights and inexplicable rage, and want to move through to menopause with their sanity intact and a supportive community by their side.

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