If you are noticing changes in your memory, thinking, or behavior, you may be concerned that you are developing early dementia. While dementia is a serious condition, it is important to remember that there are many other causes of memory loss and cognitive decline. Eating the right foods can help to reduce the risk of developing dementia and other age-related cognitive decline. In this article, we will discuss the foods that you should eat and the foods that you should avoid if you are concerned about developing early dementia. We will also provide tips on how to make healthy dietary changes that can help to reduce your risk of developing dementia.
If This Sounds Like You, You May Develop Early Dementia — Eat This Not That
If you’re having difficulty remembering things, it could be a sign of early dementia. While dementia is a serious condition, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk. Eating the right foods can help protect your brain health and reduce your risk of developing dementia.
What to Eat
Eating a healthy diet is essential for maintaining brain health. Foods that are rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins are especially beneficial. Some of the best foods to eat for brain health include:
- Leafy green vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
- Beans and legumes
These foods are packed with nutrients that can help protect your brain from damage and reduce your risk of developing dementia. Eating a variety of these foods can help ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need.
What to Avoid
In addition to eating the right foods, it’s also important to avoid certain foods that can increase your risk of developing dementia. These include:
- Processed meats
- Refined carbohydrates
- Sugary drinks
- Trans fats
- Fried foods
These foods can increase inflammation in the body, which can damage brain cells and increase your risk of developing dementia. Avoiding these foods can help protect your brain health and reduce your risk of developing dementia.
If you’re having difficulty remembering things, it could be a sign of early dementia. Eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones can help protect your brain health and reduce your risk of developing dementia. Eating a variety of leafy green vegetables, berries, nuts and seeds, fish, whole grains, beans and legumes, and eggs can help ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need. Avoiding processed meats, refined carbohydrates, sugary drinks, trans fats, and fried foods can also help reduce your risk of developing dementia.
We’ve all walked into a room, only to have forgotten exactly why we are there. Or maybe our ability to recall names of long-lost friends or classmates isn’t quite what it used to be.
These are normal signs of aging. But, if such events begin to happen more frequently or escalate, then it could be something called mild cognitive impairment, often called MCI. Mild cognitive impairment is an early stage of memory—or cognitive ability—loss in people who can still independently perform most daily activities.
If mild cognitive impairment is not a familiar term to you, you aren’t alone. A recent survey from the Alzheimer’s Association found that 82% of Americans are unaware of the condition or know little about it. And yet it affects about 10 million people in the United States.
For people diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, within just one year 10 to 15% of them will go on to develop dementia, a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities that is severe enough to interfere with daily life. And one-third of those with MCI will develop Alzheimer’s (the most common form of dementia) within five years. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Seeking medical attention for signs of MCI is important because it may be caused by something that can easily be reversed, such as a medication or a medical condition, says Carolyn Fredericks, MD, a Yale Medicine neurologist who specializes in cognitive and behavioral conditions, including dementia.
“For example, someone’s thyroid could not be functioning properly. That’s something we can treat, and then they get better,” Dr. Fredericks says. “Or someone might have severe sleep apnea, which is shocking in terms of how much cognitive impairment it can cause.”
Yet, according to the Alzheimer’s Association survey, just 40% of respondents said they would see a doctor if they experienced MCI symptoms. This is unfortunate, Dr. Fredericks says, because whether it’s a condition that can be fixed or not, there are clinical trials patients can enroll in that might offer treatment options they wouldn’t otherwise have.
“More and more, we are able to use tests to identify biomarkers, like spinal fluid testing or new imaging methods to see the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s pathology,” she says. “That can be helpful, though it is ethically complicated. Would someone want that information if they can’t do anything about it? But for patients who come to us interested in drug trials, the early stages of a process like this might be the right place to intervene with some of the newer drugs that are being developed.”
We talked more with Dr. Fredericks about the distinctions between “normal” aging, MCI, and dementia, and what, if any, steps can be taken to prevent cognitive decline.