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Menus for Seniors With Dementia: MIND Diet
Menus for seniors with dementia are changing as more studies point the way toward diet patterns that can prevent the development of Alzheimer’s specifically, and prevent or alleviate dementia in general. One particularly promising diet is called MIND, which stands for Mediterranean Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. This is distinct from another recently developed diet, which is simply called the Mediterranean diet. Earlier this year, researchers published a study in Alzheimer's and Dementia, which followed 923 subjects aged 58-98 years, over the course of four and a half years. The results are promising, if not conclusive. Even the study participants who adhered only moderately to the diet over the study period had a 35% reduction in the incidence of Alzheimer’s.

How Does it Work?
The MIND diet uses foods that are known to support vascular health in general, and that contain nutrients that are proven to slow cognitive decline. It also makes use of foods that have demonstrated an ability to reduce neuron loss and decrease oxidative stress and inflammation.

Foods to Include
  • Whole Grains – Three times daily

  • Green Leafy Vegetables – Daily

  • Other Vegetables – At least once daily

  • Nuts – Daily

  • Wine – Daily

  • Berries – Strawberries and/or blueberries at least twice a week

  • Beans – Every other day

  • Fish – At least once weekly

  • Poultry – At least twice weekly

  • Olive Oil – In moderation daily
Foods to Restrict or Eliminate
  • Red meat

  • Butter And Margarine – Absolutely no more than a Tablespoon a day, less is better

  • Cheese – Less than one serving a week

  • Pastries And Sweets

  • Fried Food – Less than one serving a week
All Fats are not Created Equal
Research has shown for some time now that saturated fats and trans-fats are worse for our general health than polyunsaturated fats or monounsaturated fats. We’re now learning that this pattern also holds true for cognitive health: saturated fats and trans-fats increase the risk of dementia, while polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats reduce the risk. “Bad” fats are found in foods like red meat, fried food, full-fat dairy products, and pastries. “Healthy” fats are in fish, nuts, and plant oils, like olive oil.  Putting it into Practice Balancing special diets while staying on budget, and maintaining kitchen efficiency is a serious challenge for care facilities. Of course, you want to give your residents the best nutrition for their health, but implementing changes can cause chaos. 

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