You are what you eat.
It’s an old saying, yet continuously reinforced by scientific research. Consuming the right foods can improve your overall health, as well as prevent or reverse Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
A key component in our research-based program Preventing Alzheimer’s Through Healthy Steps, or PATHS, is a patient’s nutrition and dietary habits. Cognitive function can be improved by inducing a state of nutritional ketosis – burning fat instead of carbohydrates for brain fuel. The strict keto diet outlined in our PATHS Nutrition Plan isn’t for everyone as it requires a series of profound lifestyle and dietary changes, but incorporating certain foods into a diet can put you on a path to better brain health:
Choose non-starchy, organic vegetables dark in pigmentation, which indicates higher nutrient density.
Examples include artichokes, cilantro, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, onions, ginger, leafy greens, chard and mushrooms.
Incorporating healthy fats into a balanced diet can provide excellent fuel for the brain.
Examples include macadamia nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, chia seeds and MCT oils (medium chain triglyceride).
Pick whole fruits with a low glycemic index. Avoid juices and tropical fruits.
Examples include blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries, as well as lemons, limes and green bananas.
Select high-quality protein sources from grass-fed, organic, free-range, non-genetically modified sources.
Examples include organic, grass-fed chicken and turkey, and occasionally red meat: buffalo, venison, elk and lamb.
Always select “wild caught” fish over those labeled “farm raised.” Avoid tuna, halibut and shark as they contain high mercury levels.
Examples include salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring, as well as wild-caught oysters, mussels, shrimp and crab.
Choose eggs from free-range, organic hens with access to sunlight. Eggs from free-range chickens have darker yolks and thicker shells.
Certain teas include phytochemicals and antioxidants that help improve memory and decrease oxidative damage to the brain. Water is essential for hydration and ketosis.
Examples include green tea, herbal tea, filtered water and spring water.
* BONUS TIP
Try eliminating grains entirely for one month, then slowly reintroduce gluten-free whole grains into your diet as recommended by a physician.
It is important to consult your physician prior to making dietary and lifestyle changes. Learn more about the importance of crafting a nutrition plan specific to your unique caloric and dietary needs in our article, Food Is Your Body’s Fuel and Medicine, So Choose Wisely. For more information about the power to prevent and reverse Alzheimer’s Disease through nutrition, visit our PATHS Brain Program page or contact our office at (239) 649-7400.