The foods seniors with dementia eat play a role in their overall health. The right types of foods can stimulate clearer thinking by giving the brain the nutrients it needs to function properly. However, the wrong foods can cause health changes that impact thinking and reasoning. Watch out for these five foods that may need to be replaced with healthier options to support better cognitive functioning in your aging loved one.
1. Fried Foods
Many seniors enjoy fried foods such as chicken, but eating too much fried food is bad for brain health. When food is fried, chemicals are released that can increase inflammation in the body, including the brain. Seniors who crave the crunch of fried foods can try breading and baking their favorite items.
Many seniors with dementia need a bit of help juggling all the details involved in optimizing their long-term health. In Scottsdale, senior home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
2. Processed Meat and Cheese
Nitrates are chemical compounds that increase inflammation in the body, and they’re found in processed meats, such as hot dogs, bacon, and deli meats. Try making your loved one a sandwich with leftover chicken that hasn’t been processed, or consider using a higher quality of cheese to limit the amount of nitrates he or she ingests with meals. Your loved one should also know that certain types of beer also contain high levels of nitrates that could affect his or her health.
3. Foods Containing MSG
This flavor enhancer is often used by food companies to increase people’s enjoyment of certain foods. It can be found in salad dressings, frozen dinners, and processed foods such as chips. MSG has a stimulating effect on the nervous system that can cause the neurons in the brain to misfire, leading to intensified dementia symptoms that can include emotional outbursts due to increased sensitivity to things that commonly occur in a senior’s environment. For instance, your loved one may find certain odors more irritating due to the effects of MSG on his or her symptoms.
A trained caregiver can encourage healthy eating habits and help seniors with dementia avoid foods that can be harmful. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of homecare services families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
4. Microwave Popcorn
Seniors who have dementia may need to choose different snacks to munch on while they watch movies. Microwave popcorn contains a chemical called diacetyl. This chemical is associated with the development of amyloid plaques in the brain, which commonly occur with Alzheimer’s disease. Although eating a bowl of microwave popcorn isn’t likely to cause Alzheimer’s to develop, your loved one may need to use caution if he or she tends to eat it a lot. Seniors with dementia can also choke on the kernels as the condition progresses to the point where it affects the ability to chew and swallow.
5. Highly Refined Carbohydrates
White foods, such as bread, pasta, and sugar, can all impact brain functioning. The body breaks these foods down into sugar, which can cause spikes in blood sugar levels. These spikes can influence cognitive function, and severe fluctuations in blood glucose levels can lead to symptoms such as confusion and slowed thinking. Try replacing refined carbs with healthier versions, such as whole wheat bread and pasta.
Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Scottsdale families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life. Call us at 480.448.6215 today to talk to one of our compassionate Care Managers about our high-quality dementia home care services.