Dementia is something no one wants because when you lose your memory, it’s as if you lose your life. So today we’re going to explore what dementia is and how to naturally prevent it. This will include:
- the MIND diet,
- foods that fight dementia,
- foods linked to it, and
- the lifestyle steps for preventing dementia.
This simple guide has everything needed so you can start preventing Alzheimers and dementia today. We’re covering a lot so bookmark this page so you’ll always know what steps to take to.
God has gifted us with amazing bodies and asks that we steward them well. And we pray the information in today’s post (well, all our posts) helps you do just that. As you’re about to learn,
If you know someone with dementia you know what is meant by “it’s as if you lose your life.” But instead you might be confronted with losing precious memories, independence, relationships, and longed for memories being replaced with hurtful words and forgotten names.
If your family member is struggling with dementia you’re likely spending every day hoping they’ll remember something about you – anything. But instead you’re confronted with hurtful words, forgotten names, and so much more.
If you understand the cost of dementia, please share this with anyone who has a friend or family member with dementia. No matter how long they’ve had it, these lifestyle steps may still bring hopeful change.
Table of Contents
What is Dementia?
Dementia means you’ve lost cognitive functioning that allows you to think, reason, and remember. Because of its effect on memory, it also impacts aspects of your day-to-day life like:
- language skills,
- visual perception,
- problem solving,
- self-care, and
- your ability to focus and pay attention.
These things happen when the nerve cells (neurons) in your brain stop working, lose their connections to other nerve cells, and die. The most common form of dementia in the elderly is Alzheimer’s disease.
Many people believe there’s nothing you can do about dementia because they think it’s all genetic, but that’s not true. In fact more than 99 of 100 dementia cases aren’t genetic.
What also needs to be understood is that aging shouldn’t equal dementia. What causes dementia depends on the types of changes happening in your brain.
Only 1% of Alzheimer cases are related to the three genes that determine if you’ll have Alzheimers. The other 99% of people who develop dementia get it because of the myriad of different factors related to Alzheimers and dementia – things like inflammation in the brain, artery and blood vessels changes, and lifestyle.
There’s good news though!
Want even more good dementia prevention news?
There’s a lot of natural things you can do to to ensure your brain and body are healthy and strong until the day God calls you home.
Now that we know the aging process and genetics shouldn’t result in dementia, let’s look at how it can be naturally prevented.
How to Naturally Prevent Dementia
Now that you’ve learned what dementia is, it’s time to explore the natural ways of preventing dementia. The first thing we’ll look at is a diet that might be new to you. It’s called the MIND diet.
So before we dive into the 8 other ways to naturally prevent dementia, let’s explore what the MIND diet is.
What is the MIND Diet?
Five years ago, a study on cognitive decline and dementia provided powerful evidence for how diet and lifestyle impact the development of dementia. The results of the study showed that:
Study authors said people who best followed the MIND diet had cognitive abilities of someone 7.5 years younger. These results came from not just “one” food that protects against dementia but “ten” different food groups that fight dementia.
After researchers reviewed all available studies related to nutrition and dementia prevention, they developed the MIND diet using these “ten” food groups. This “diet” is a combination of the Mediterranean diet we talked about two weeks ago (you can find it here) and the DASH diet (a diet that helps lower blood pressure), but with a few distinct differences.
Ladies, if you hear only one thing today hear this:
Preventing and reversing disease processes is about lifestyle, about eating a bunch of healthy whole foods and doing a myriad of different healthy lifestyle practices.
Ready to learn about the foods and lifestyle steps that might prevent and fight dementia?
MIND Diet Foods
In Summary, the MIND diet includes:
- 6+ servings of green leafy vegetables per week
- 1 large salad and another vegetable per day (minimum)
- 5+ servings of nuts per week
- 2+ servings of berries per week
- 3 servings of whole grains per day
- 1 serving of fish per week
- 2 servings of poultry per week
- Use extra-virgin olive oil instead of other oils
- 1 glass of wine per day (maximum)
MIND Diet Foods to Avoid
Just like there’s food to help prevent dementia there are foods that can increase your likelihood of developing dementia. MIND diet researchers found these 5 foods to cause blood-brain barrier dysfunction and amyloid beta (AB) protein aggregation (both lead to Alzheimer’s disease).
1. Red Meat.
The MIND diet doesn’t ban red meat but it does say you should limit the amount you eat. Aim for at least one meatless day each week and then have red meat no more than once or twice a week.
2. Butter & Margarine.
Butter and margarine should be limited to a tablespoon or less each day. Even better, skip them both and use brain healthy EVOO instead.
If you want to reduce your risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s you’ve gotta remove the cheese from your diet.
Most sweets don’t do any aspect of our health favors. And it turns out they have a negative effect on our brain health as well. Sugary sweets need to be saved for special occasions. Sorry Starbucks.
5. Fast Food.
For optimal brain health and dementia prevention, fried and fast foods need limited to no more than once per week. Even better…skip them altogether.
The lead MIND diet researcher Martha Clare Morris said that “People who eat this diet consistently over the years get the best protection,” and that “You’ll be healthier if you’ve been doing the right thing for a long time.”
We couldn’t agree more. So let’s look at the other 8 steps that should be part of your natural dementia prevention plan.
Steps to Prevent Dementia
1. Be active.
Thirty minutes of moderately vigorous exercise per day is enough to prevent you from getting Alzheimers, and also slows the progression of already existing symptoms.
Check out this post here for ways to get more active.
2. Don’t smoke.
Smoking leads to vascular problems, oxidative stress, and inflammation which are all linked to developing dementia. If you smoke, or vape, please ask God to help you quit.
3. Limit alcohol.
Unlike vegetables, the health benefits of alcohol don’t increase the more you consume. To benefit from alcohol you need to keep it to no more than 1 serving per day. Drinking more than that impairs the body’s ability to clear amyloid plaque from the brain.
4. Exercise your brain.
Activities that challenge your brain such as learning a new skill, hobby or language, and engaging in some form of formal education all help prevent dementia.
5. Maintain a healthy weight.
Mid-life obesity and weight loss in the elderly are both risk factors for the development of dementia. They key is maintaining a healthy weight throughout your life. If you’re currently overweight, find a way of eating that will cause slow steady weight loss and can be maintained for life.
6. Be social.
Being social reduces your chances of dementia. If you’re struggling to make friends or are new to an area, find places where you can volunteer your time while interacting with others.
Getting 7+ hours of sleep per night helps clear amyloid plaques from your brain and also prevents the development of Alzheimers and dementia.
8. Manage your health.
Since there are several health conditions that are known to increase the risk of dementia, it’s important to manage your health. Put the practices from this post in place, and then schedule regular preventative visits with your doctor.
Dementia is a hard subject. Anyone who’s ever known someone with dementia, knows what it means when I said it’s like they’ve “lost their life”. When you lose your memory you’ve lost everything except the ability to be alive. Being alive feels meaningless without memory.
But as you learned today, there are things you can do to naturally prevent dementia. Pray about what you’ve learned today. And ask the Holy Spirit to help you live a healthy life 24/7, 365 days a year.
Throughout Scripture God places a lot of significance on “remembering” and He does it for a reason. You can learn more about this here.
It’s never too late dear friend.
- Will you begin putting healthy steps in place today?
- Pick one of the items from today’s post and begin doing it every day this week.
Once it becomes routine, add another and another and another. Before long you’ll have them all in place and we know, your body and brain will be thanking you for it.
Don’t wait until you’ve already begun losing your memory.