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How Mediterranean Diet Can Help with Alzheimer


What is Alzheimer?

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurological condition that affects the brain. It causes memory loss, a decline of brain function, as well as behavioural and psychological abnormalities. Although the exact cause of Alzheimer's disease is not entirely understood, it is believed a mix of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors are responsible for it. Alzheimer's disease signs usually appear gradually and get worse over time. People may feel mild memory loss in the early stages, as well as difficulties focusing, planning, and communicating. Confusion, disorientation, difficulty speaking and swallowing, changes in mood and behaviour, and eventually a loss of independence are some of the more severe symptoms that may appear as the disease worsens.


Sadly, there is no known treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Treatment options concentrate on symptom management, slowing the disease's progression, and enhancing the quality of life for those who are afflicted. Medication to temporarily enhance cognitive function, as well as interventions and support to help with daily tasks. However, there are lots of studies done on Mediterranean Diet and Alzheimer's disease and it has been concluded that Mediterranean Diet is associated with better cognitive performance and a reduced risk of cognitive decline and dementia.


So What is the Mediterranean Diet? 

The Mediterranean diet is a dietary pattern based on the traditional eating habits of countries in the Mediterranean region, such as Spain and Greece. This diet consists of high consumption of plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Plant oil is also one of the important ingredients used in this diet mainly for cooking and dressing. Fish with high fat content such as salmon is also a good inclusion in the Mediterranean diet  due to its high omega-3 fatty acids. Red meat and dairy product consumption is limited to special occasions only. Other than that, usage of spices and herbs are common, instead of the usage of too much salt. Food is highly seasoned using herbs and spices making the food become so flavourful. The Mediterranean way of life encourages regular exercise and mindful eating other than focusing on whole, minimally processed foods. 

How Mediterranean Diet Can Help People with Alzheimer

The Mediterranean diet has been extensively studied in relation to its impact on Alzheimer's disease. Here are some ways in which the Mediterranean diet may affect Alzheimer's:


Reduced Inflammation

The Mediterranean diet is rich in anti-inflammatory foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil. In Alzheimer's disease, there is chronic inflammation in the brain. This inflammation is caused by abnormal protein deposits that build up and trigger an immune response. The inflammation damages brain cells and makes the disease worse. It is believed that this inflammation plays a role in the progression of Alzheimer's and the decline in memory and thinking abilities. Chronic inflammation is believed to contribute to the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease. By reducing inflammation, the Mediterranean diet may help protect against the onset of the disease. 


Antioxidant Protection

The antioxidants found in the Mediterranean diet, such as vitamins C and E, can help improve Alzheimer's disease. These beneficial compounds protect brain cells from damage caused by harmful free radicals and contribute to the overall health of the brain. To possibly improve brain health and lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease, incorporating a Mediterranean diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil may be a beneficial dietary strategy.


Heart Health Benefits

The beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet on heart health can indirectly help those with Alzheimer's disease maintain better brain health. The Mediterranean diet supports healthy blood flow to the brain, ensuring an appropriate supply of oxygen and nutrients, by increasing cardiovascular health and lowering the risk of illnesses like high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. In addition, the abundance of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in the diet reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which are thought to contribute to the progression of Alzheimer's disease. This directly benefits brain health. As a result, following a Mediterranean diet may promote heart health while also potentially lowering the risk or advancement of Alzheimer's disease.


Healthy Fats

The monounsaturated fats from olive oil, almonds, and avocados, which are part of the Mediterranean diet, may help with Alzheimer's disease. These fats maintain the health of the brain by giving the brain cells necessary building blocks. They also aid in keeping blood arteries in good condition, ensuring that the brain receives adequate blood flow. The Mediterranean diet's focus on heart-healthy fats may also lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and increase heart health, both of which are connected to greater brain function.


Blood Sugar Regulation

The ability of the Mediterranean diet to control blood sugar levels may benefit Alzheimer's patients. This diet can help lower the chance of developing Alzheimer's disease by minimising insulin resistance and encouraging stable blood sugar levels. People may perhaps improve their blood sugar control and maintain brain health by switching to a Mediterranean diet high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, which lowers the risk or progress of Alzheimer's disease.


Written by: Alia Adrina Asri

BSc (Hons) Nutrition

Love Earth Nutritionist