While we know that proper nutrition is vital for maintaining health, we often overlook its importance in managing chronic illness. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is such a cliché that we tend to dismiss it and forget how important it really is, especially when we are trying to manage serious health problems. There is a reason that diet is stressed so heavily—healthy foods provide our body with the nutrients it requires to function at its best. Alzheimer’s disease can present many nutritional challenges, but a good diet can offer many benefits; here are some nutritional considerations that may help manage the condition.
When examining the role of nutrition in disease, people often wonder if certain foods or types of diets are helpful in treating specific conditions; as for this disease, there is no special diet a person must follow, unlike a condition such as diabetes. This does not mean, however, that there may not be foods or a certain way of eating that can help manage symptoms.
You may want to experiment with one diet that has been shown to have strong therapeutic effects; extensive research on what has been termed the ‘’Mediterranean Diet’’, shows that this way of eating has been linked to preventing or mitigating the symptoms of over 50 diseases and conditions. According to research, such a study published in the 2011 issue of the Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, this diet may help slow the progression of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients. This diet is heavy on olive oil and other healthy fats, whole grains, legumes and fruits and vegetables; dairy, eggs and meat are eaten sparingly.
Bold claims have been made for coconut oil, which contains a type of fat that helps the body produce an alternative energy source for the brain; anecdotal reports and preliminary research suggests it may help produce rapid and significant improvement in symptoms, but extensive, rigorous research are lacking, which means this treatment is unlikely to get any enthusiastic endorsements from most in the medical community; this does not mean, however, that it does not work. It may be something worth experimenting with, given that coconut oil is simply a food, which suggests that using it is probably very safe. The typical recommended does is two teaspoons a day—you can either take it straight, use it to cook with or mix it in with other foods.
Supplementation can also fall under the realm of nutrition when it comes to managing disease. Certain supplements may be helpful in controlling symptoms and slowing progression of Alzheimer’s disease. To reap optimal benefits from this mode of treatment, you might consider consulting with a health care provider knowledgeable about senior care and alternative medicine.
Turmeric, which is a primary ingredient in curry, contains numerous compounds that have been shown to enhance various aspects of health, including that of the brain; one study found that this supplement may help the immune system better get rid of beta-amyloid plaques, which are believed to contribute to brain deterioration; combining this supplement with vitamin D3 may enhance these immune-boosting benefits of turmeric. Alpha-lipoic acid, which has strong anti-oxidant properties may help reduce overall disease progression; A B-vitamin complex may also be something worth considering; these vitamins help fight off the effects of homocysteine—a substance that may harm the body in numerous ways, including increasing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and worsening symptoms. Other studies suggest that certain supplements, such as ginkgo biloba and saffron may be just as effective as Aricept—the primary medication used to treat this disease—in improving symptoms, while offering the benefit of fewer side effects.
About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who covers a variety of healthcare topics related to the elderly; if you are currently investigating senior care facilities in the Virginia area, she highly recommends learning more about Lakewood Manor.