In an effort to raise awareness, educate our community and assist families who have been touched by Alzheimer’s disease, this month’s article will highlight the importance of nutrition to keep your brain healthy. 

The brain is the most important part of our body. It needs a steady stream of nutrients to keep it healthy. Nutrients in the food we eat fuel our brain and body. If we do not get the right fuel, our health suffers. 

Getting nutrients directly from natural foods is best. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, research suggests that the following types of foods promote general brain health: fish and Omega 3 fatty acids, whole grains and bright fruits and vegetables, and some spices.  

This past month the Isanti Memory Café featured the importance of the Mediterranean diet as a wonderful lifestyle for brain health. It provides the foods necessary to keep the brain healthy. 

The Mediterranean diet is not a specific diet plan or program, but a collection of eating and lifestyle habits traditionally followed by the people of the Mediterranean region of Greece, Crete, southern France and part of Italy. 

Research suggests that fish and Omega 3 fatty acids lower the risk of stroke and dementia and may play a role in enhancing memory and slowing mental decline. Eating whole grains can reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease and enhance blood flow. 

Eat lots of brightly colored fruits and vegetables at every meal. They are full of vitamins and antioxidants. Eat a “rainbow” of fruits and vegetables each day! 

A little spice can pack a punch of nutrition. Curcumin, an ancient East Indian herb used in curry, has unique properties that are healthy for the brain. Turmeric is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that supports brain health. 

Move your body everyday. Look for ways to be active. Exercise in moderation. Dance. Walk. Swim. Bike. Garden. Hike. 

A wonderful website that talks about the Mediterranean lifestyle is “Old Ways Cultural Food Traditions” at www.oldwayspt.org. (Source: Alzheimer’s Association – Living Well)

For more information about these and other local resources and guidance in caring for someone with dementia, contact Jayne Mund, Caregiver Consultant, at 763-689-8811.

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