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Diet, Exercises for Dementia Patients

A loss of brain functions which occurs as a result of certain diseases is known as Dementia. It affects a persons thinking, behavior, language, memory and judgment. Medical conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Pick’s disease, Huntington’s disease and brain infections like Lyme disease and HIV/AIDS can cause dementia. In the case of dementia diet and nutrition play a very important role in reversing this condition. Vegetables, fruits, fish and foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids should be included in the daily diet.
It is also helpful to include dementia diet supplements like cod liver oil and ginkgo biloba in the diet for improving this condition. While suffering from dementia diet soda intake must be completely avoided as the artificial sweetener Aspartame is known to cause neurodegeneration which can worsen the condition. It is therefore important to understand the vital relationship between dementia treatment and diet so that this condition can be reversed before it progresses. Furthermore combining a healthy dementia diet with exercise can help in treating this condition faster. Simple exercises like walking, mild aerobics and strength training are very helpful in maintaining physical fitness and cognitive behavior and function. Following basic dementia diet tips and eating a balanced diet everyday not only helps avoid nutritional deficiencies but also helps in treating dementia.

Dementia Foods to Eat, Avoid

For people suffering from dementia foods to eat in the daily diet should include fresh fruits and juices, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grain cereals and breads, homemade yogurt, defatted soy flour, fish, oatmeal, sugar free and fat free foods, dried apricots, prunes and dates and almonds and walnuts in moderation. Eating the right foods to combat dementia is the first step in treating this condition. On the other hand while suffering from dementia foods to avoid include high fat meats like beef, lamb, steak and pork, hydrogenated vegetable oils, fatty and fried foods, caffeinated beverages and soft drinks, chocolates and other sugary foods and alcohol. Certain fish like swordfish, shark, king mackerel, tilefish and snapper contain higher levels of mercury which can affect brain function and hence should be avoided completely. Apart from the usual anti dementia foods including garlic in the daily diet is also very beneficial to people suffering from this condition. Studies have shown that garlic extracts can actually stop the deterioration of the brain and help in restoring memory function.

Drinking and Dementia

Similarly many studies have also shown the link between excessive drinking and dementia. Excessive alcohol consumption can cause a form of dementia known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome which can cause memory loss and neurological damage in a person. This condition is also referred to as alcohol related dementia, alcohol-induced persisting dementia and alcohol dementia. Alcohol directly impacts the brain cells which can lead to difficulty in making decisions, lack of insight and poor judgment. People who have been consuming alcohol excessively over a prolonged period are always at a higher risk of alcohol dementia. Alcohol abuse normally also results in nutrition problems causing nutritional deficiencies in the sufferer. This can further hamper the functioning of the brain and may cause permanent irreversible damage in some cases. Therefore it is very important to understand the relation between alcohol and dementia so that this problem can be avoided. This also proves that dementia need not only affect elderly people. Alcohol dementia can also be reversed if it is diagnosed early. However it is important that the patient stops drinking completely and starts eating healthy so that nutritional deficiencies can be combated.

Healthy Eating For Dementia Treatment

Eating healthy is not always easy for dementia patients and therefore it is very important to understand the connection between eating and dementia. As this condition progresses the patient sometimes finds it difficult to eat and drink because of loss of ability to recognize the food in front of him. Since the brain cells are affected in this condition, movement co-ordination and basic functions like chewing and swallowing also become a challenge for dementia patients. It is important to understand that these are not deliberate reactions by the patient but a result of neurological changes in the brain. Many dementia patients also go into depression and lose their appetite which causes them to lose weight. Patients who are psychiatrically disturbed may become delusional and distracted about their food. This makes it even more important for caretakers to support dementia patients properly so that they can eat and drink adequately. It is also important for caretakers to adapt to the preferences of the patient which can be very helpful in treating them. Distractions and noise should be avoided as far as possible during eating time so that the patient can concentrate on his food. Eating preferences and styles of the patient can change and hence caretakers should be flexible. Proper care, good nutrition and regular exercises can go a long way in treating and reversing dementia.
Submitted on January 16, 2014