Jan 7, 2012

“Brain Healthy Eating” Tips for Baby Boomers in Celebration of National Mediterranean Diet Month

Research tells us that proper nutrition is essential to defending against deterioration due to age and disease. But did you know that by eating a Mediterranean-style brain-healthy diet you can effectively delay the onset or progression of Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer's Reading Room

What is a Mediterranean Diet?
Scientific studies continue to show positive links between eating a Mediterranean diet and reduced risk of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.

This is due to the Mediterranean diet’s proven positive effects on improving cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and blood vessel health, as well as reducing inflammation, all of which have been associated with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease.

Subscribe to the Alzheimer's Reading Room

One comprehensive study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that individuals who follow a Mediterranean-type diet had a 32-40% decreased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

This is especially significant as Baby Boomers -- a huge portion of the population – are moving into their golden years when cognitive decline is common.

Senior Living Residences (SLR), a pioneer in assisted living and Alzheimer’s care in New England, is putting research to practice in its dining programs, and along with internationally recognized nutrition expert Nancy Emerson Lombardo, PhD of Boston University’s School of Medicine, is working to share this vital knowledge with the public.

In recognition of Mediterranean Diet Month, SLR is releasing nutrition guidelines and recipes from the Memory Preservation Nutrition® Program developed over the last five years in conjunction with Dr. Emerson Lombardo. SLR is the first and only assisted living company in the nation to offer a cognitively-protective nutrition program in its assisted living and Alzheimer’s care “Compass Memory Support Neighborhood” communities.

Dr. Emerson Lombardo says the message to Baby Boomers is clear – it’s not too late. “Diet changes can benefit individuals of any age, whether or not you have memory loss. Following the Memory Preservation Nutrition® program can be an important step to take to protect your own brain health.”

Eat these brain-healthy foods to stave off dementia.

  • Fresh fruits, especially brightly colored fruits, such as blueberries and raspberries. Berrycompounds counteract inflammation in the body, which has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Vegetables, especially leafy green vegetables, for their high levels of vitamins E and D, and dietary fiber. Eaten on a regular basis, vegetables have a positive effect on brain health and help prevent age-related illnesses.
  • Specific spices that have amazing protective properties – cinnamon, rosemary, oregano, and turmeric reduce inflammation and increase blood flow. Cinnamon is also known to regulate blood sugar and reduce cholesterol, important to brain health.
  • Whole grains. Substituting whole wheat products for white flour, bread, rice and pasta helps to maintain weight and improve cardiovascular health which directly contributes to brain health.
  • Foods containing omega-three fatty acids. Omega-3s are naturally found in your brain and as you age levels of these fats in your body drop. Food sources of omega-3s such as fish, green vegetables, walnuts and flax seed replace the losses and improve transmission of nerve impulses.
  • A handful of nuts a day as a snack provides your daily dose of Vitamin E - which is a powerful protector of the brain.
  • Use stevia, a natural sugar substitute, as well as molasses and brown sugar, instead of high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar, to control blood sugar. The hippocampus of the brain, an important region for memory, is sensitive to changes in blood sugar levels.

Robert Larkin, president of Senior Living Residences said, “When asked, Americans rate Alzheimer’s disease as their second most-feared illness, following cancer. We understand that fear but want to convey a message of hope – you can take practical steps to protect your brain health through nutrition at any age.”

For more brain healthy nutrition tips and delicious recipes, and to order a sample of SLR’s own unique spice blend “Spice of Life” - a delicious mixture of spices, fruits, and vegetables with health protecting properties - visit www.SeniorLivingResidences.com/brain-diet.

To learn more about the innovative Alzheimer’s care programming being implemented at SLR’s Compass Memory Support Neighborhood communities visit www.seniorlivingresidences.com/alzheimers-care.

The above information was supplied to ARR via press release.

More Insight and Advice for Caregivers

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room