Regular, nutritious meals may become a challenge for a person with Alzheimer’s disease. As a person’s cognitive function declines, he or she may become overwhelmed with too many food choices, forget to eat, or have difficulty using utensils. Proper nutrition is very important to keep the body strong and healthy. For a person who has Alzheimer’s, poor nutrition may increase their behavioral symptoms and cause weight loss. Here are some nutrition tips that can help boost a person with Alzheimer’s health, and if you are a caregiver, your health too:
- Limit foods with high saturated fat and cholesterol: While some fat is essential for health, not all fats are equal. Try to limit the amount of fats that are bad for heart health, such as butter, lard and fatty cuts of meats.
- Eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods: Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean protein foods for a healthy diet.
- Cut down on refined sugars: Refined sugars are often found in processed foods and contain calories but lack vitamins, minerals and fiber- all things that are good for you. If your loved one has a sweet tooth, you can tame it with healthier options such as fruit or juice-sweetened baked goods. Do keep in mind though that in the later-stages of Alzheimer’s, if loss of appetite is a problem, adding sugar to foods may encourage eating.
- Limit foods with high sodium and use less salt: Most people in the U.S. consume too much sodium, which affects blood pressure. Cut down on its intake by using spices or herbs to season food as an alternative.
- Encourage Fluids: Staying hydrated can be a problem as well. Encourage your loved one with Alzheimer’s to drink fluids by offering small cups of water or other liquids throughout the day or foods with high water content, such as fruit, soups, milkshakes and smoothies.
Try out these tips to help your loved one with Alzheimer’s stay healthy and keep yourself healthy as well.
Do you have a loved one who is living with Alzheimer’s disease? Speak with us today to learn about clinical trial opportunities!