1.6 million Germans suffer from dementia. According to estimates, this value could rise significantly in the future. It is all the more important to strengthen the brain early on. Diet can make a big contribution. We show the most important nutrients for fit gray cells.
The number of people with dementia is growing – and will continue to do so in the future. At least that’s what researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington predict at the Alzheimer’s Association Conference. Leading Alzheimer’s researchers come together regularly and exchange views on the current state of research in the fight against brain decay.
The scientists from Washington therefore assume that the number of dementia patients in the world will almost triple by 2050 to more than 152 million. Improvements in lifestyle among adults in developed countries and elsewhere have reduced the incidence in recent years. “But the total number of dementia sufferers continues to rise due to the aging of the population,” said Maria C. Carrillo, chief scientist of the Alzheimer’s Association. “Also, obesity, diabetes and a sedentary lifestyle are increasing rapidly in younger people, and these are risk factors for dementia.”
Early countermeasures are therefore becoming increasingly important. Dementia and its most common form, Alzheimer’s, cannot yet be prevented. But: The brain deterioration can be mitigated and delayed.
Diet plays an important role in this, because there are a number of nutrients and food components that keep the network of nerve cells and synapses supple so that they can process information quickly and correctly. There are studies that attribute a delay in the onset of dementia by seven years to the right food choices. This requires a well-planned meal plan.
In her book “Eating against forgetting”, the ecotrophologist Anne Iburg has put together appealing recipes that focus on ingredients with a brain-protecting function. And she explains what vegetables, good oils or nuts can do.
Thirst quencher number 1 is and remains water. This should be accompanied by two to three cups of coffee, green or black tea. The effect on the brain comes less from the stimulating caffeine and more from the antioxidant polyphenols. If you like wine, you can treat yourself to a small glass of red every day – the protective plant substances are also in it.
Many people in this country find it difficult to achieve the recommended three servings of vegetables a day. But with a handful of lettuce and a double portion of ratatouille, the goal is already achieved. “Double portion” means that half the plate of the main meal is filled with vegetables. The vitamin mix it contains also supplies the brain-relevant folic acid, and of course vegetables are full of polyphenols.
In the head-healthy MIND diet, a mixture of Mediterranean and anti-high blood pressure diet, berries are considered the most valuable fruit because they provide the highest level of plant protection substances. It also contains vitamin C, which reduces plaque formation in the vessels – a risk factor for dementia. The fruit should be ripe and fresh. Along with an apple, a handful of raspberries, strawberries or blueberries add up to the recommended two servings a day.
B vitamins, folic acid and of course polyphenols make legumes healthy for the brain. Instead of lentil stew, it can also be tofu schnitzel, falafel or hummus.
Polyphenols and B vitamins make whole grain bread, pasta and rice valuable foods for a healthy brain.
Relatives of people with dementia can contact the Alzheimer’s telephone of the German Alzheimer Society with problems and questions on 030 – 259 37 95 14 or 01803 – 17 10 17 from Monday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for a smooth horny metabolism. Linseed, pumpkin seeds, rapeseed and olives contain larger amounts. It doesn’t matter whether it’s refined or cold-pressed. The antioxidant vitamin E is also in the oil. Since the oils taste from neutral to very intense, they are suitable for different uses.
Fish, nuts and seeds are also great sources of omega-3. Saltwater fish should therefore be on the plate twice a week – in addition to fatty salmon, lean plaice or cod are also welcome. A few almonds or pistachios are good snacks for in between or a brain-healthy snack in front of the TV.