Dementia is a concern for many people. As our population ages, we keep hearing that age-related memory disorders are destroying families.
Not only do children get stuck with caring for parents and making tough decisions they find themselves drained of energy. Because I care about this topic, I wanted to share my favorite 10 Foods that can help fight dementia.
Winning The War Against Dementia May Lay In What We Eat
These foods are highly researched by a group of Canadian researchers at Concordia University in Montreal along with Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute.
These researchers are working together to form the Brain Health Food Guide. Their studies also focus on how the Mediterranean diet works to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 35%.
10 Foods That Can Help Fight Dementia
So what are these 10 Foods that can help fight dementia? Here’s my list and how I include many of them daily.
- Raw Leafy Green Vegetables
The darker, the better they say so use things like spinach, chard, and Kale. I mix in a blender or Vitamix 2-3 cups with water and frozen berries. These greens boost your vitamin k and increase the antioxidants for the brain. Personally, I think these are the best of the 10 foods that can help fight dementia.
- Cruciferous vegetables
These are vegetables that are high in vitamin K and glucosinolates which have an antioxidant effect. They include broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. Try to get three ½ cup servings weekly. We do our green shake at lunch and then for dinner enjoy these vegetables.
3. Blueberries and Blackberries
I keep reading studies on berries, and some are more pro-blueberry while a surprising number are now coming out that blackberries are even better for both the brain and the heart. Be careful not to overeat fruit. If you’re using them in smoothies, keep it at 1/3 cup daily or about ½ to 2/3 cup three times weekly. Of the 10 foods that can help fight dementia, it’s important to note that it’s not all fruit. It’s only these berries.
These make the international list but not my list. Why? Most people do not prepare them correctly. Be sure to soak your beans and lentils for 24-36 hours in water. Then you must cook them for about 2 hours. See my Bean Cookin 101
I love nuts, and I bet you do too. They’re easy for a snack, and hey you can find them in just about every granola bar around. That’s the problem — too much of a good thing. Nuts can cause bloating and gas. They are high in fat and can increase weight gain. But they’re terrific for brain health. I use Almond milk in my Chai so I must count that as a nut serving.
If you’re going for a handful of nuts, walnuts are best for the brain and high in omega-3 fatty acid a brain-protective nutrient. I recommend supplementing too. Enjoy about ¼-1/2 cup of nuts daily. If you’re using nut milk or spreads, you should choose between what you want to enjoy that day.
I’m not a fish fan. Allergic to shell-fish it’s hard to ensure you’re getting sea-meat you can eat! Fish is good for you though. It’s full of iodine and iron. Some say the fatter, the better. Salmon and trout top the list though I go for Halibut, cod, and other fresh white fish to lower the mercury levels.
7. Whole Grains
This is one of the most confusing areas for many people. If you go to the local grocers and buy a loaf of fluffy whole wheat bread, it’s not whole wheat! You have to be picky with grains and often making your own is best. Grains include oats, brown rice, and yes wheat along with other grains. All of these should be fermented or sprouted before eating or cooking. All should be consumed This means that tasty morning oat and nut cereal will need to be fermented and then cooked. So much for a fast meal, you’re thinking. I have a quick article, Fermenting and Sprouting to help you love the morning meal once again.
Did anyone say chicken? Americans have gone on a red-meat replacement craze. Chicken has become the meat of choice, and that’s good and not so good. Eat one serving a day because you need variety. So while we’re talking meat protein, vary it up each day. Make the total animal protein no more than six total grams. You need protein to keep your brain and mind functioning properly.
Some Dairy is okay. Don’t buy into the lower fat varieties instead look for organic and grass-fed whole milk, yogurt, or cheese. No more than ½ of milk or yogurt and 1 oz of cheese daily. Also, you can try goat or sheep cheese. We’ve found some excellent ones at Whole Foods. Of the 10 foods that can help fight dementia, milk is not technically one as far as Paleo eating is concerned.
10. Olive Oil
I almost want to say use generously, but I know some might think I am saying to eat a Keto diet – do not go there! This is a healthy oil. Use it healthily. Replace other oils with it. Like all these foods it’s full of antioxidants and vitamins that protect and keep your brain healthy.
What You Eat Matters
Many people today are focused on how to eat better and are eating similar to this list. This is good news. It’s healthy for the heart and overall health too. Calories matter so be active and don’t overeat anything that includes everything here. I hope you are eating and enjoying my list of 10 foods that can help fight dementia. If not, maybe now is a good time to start even if you’re in your 20’s or 30’s.
Photos by BigStock and Jasmine Waheed, Sidney Pearce, Roberta Sorge on Unsplash