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Dementia diet: 3 foods to remove from your diet to help halt dementia risks

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Eating a dementia-friendly diet can help to improve your brain function and heart health. Swapping fatty and processed foods for healthy wholegrains and vegetables can keep you feeling healthy. But what’s the science behind it?

In the UK, one in six people over the age of 80 has dementia.

There are currently 850,000 people with dementia in the UK.

The causes of different types of dementia can be complex.

Age is the most common risk factor for dementia, meaning people become more likely to develop a form of dementia as they get older.

Lifestyle choices can also affect your chances of developing dementia, and that includes your diet.

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Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease is caused by unusual forms of proteins in the brain.

Some proteins, called amyloid, create plaque around brain cells whereas others, called tau, cause brain cells to become tangled.

As more brain cells become affected, neurotransmitters – the chemicals that carry messages between brain cells – decrease, which damages overall brain function.

One of the first affected areas is a person’s memories, which is why people with Alzheimer’s can appear confused or forgetful.

What foods can contribute to dementia risks?

The MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) has been found to delay the onset of brain decline.

The MIND diet combines lessons from two other popular diets: the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.

They aim to reduce blood pressure and the risk of heart disease, as well as slow the onset of dementia.

Fried food

Try swapping deep-fried food from fast-food restaurants for whole, home-cooked, foods.

Choose an oil like olive oil instead, if you’re shallow-frying anything at home.

Cheese

The MIND diet recommends eating cheese less than once per week – you can still enjoy it as a treat, but try to keep the cheeseboard reserved for special occasions.

Butter and margarine

Try to limit your intake to less than one tablespoon a day. Olive oil is a better choice according to the MIND diet.

Limiting red meat and intake of sweets, like cakes and ice cream, is also a key part of the diet.

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The Alzheimer’s Society suggests the Mediterranean diet (the basis of the MIND diet) can help keep your brain function tip-top.

Eight staple foods from the Mediterranean diet are:

  • Vegetables
  • Berries
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Whole grains
  • Fish
  • Beans
  • Poultry



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