Designing the Best Meal Plans for Seniors with Alzheimer’s

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Following a nutritious meal plan is one of the best things seniors with Alzheimer’s can do for their health and wellbeing. In addition to giving them more energy, a healthy diet can also minimize or delay some of the worst symptoms of this disorder. Here are a few things to consider when making a healthy and tasty meal plan for a senior loved one who has Alzheimer’s.

Fresh Produce

As a general rule, most seniors with Alzheimer’s benefit from a plant-based diet. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables provides almost all the nutrients the body needs. Most produce also contains antioxidants, which can protect the brain from free radicals and boost cognitive health. If your loved one doesn’t seem to enjoy vegetables, you might want to blend them up with fruits and berries to make superfood shakes.

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High-Quality Protein

Seniors need at least a few servings of high-quality protein every day. A protein deficiency could speed up cognitive decline and exacerbate some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Red meat can be eaten occasionally, but most of the protein should come from fatty fish, poultry, low-fat dairy, and eggs. Fatty fish seems to be particularly beneficial for those who have Alzheimer’s, and studies suggest the omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish might protect the brain from damage.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates provide energy, but certain types of carbs are very unhealthy. Simple carbohydrates are usually found in foods that contain processed flour, which is one ingredient seniors with Alzheimer’s should avoid at all costs. Some of the worst offenders include white bread, refined pasta, and packaged baked goods. As an alternative to those products, you should try to give your loved one complex carbs, such as whole wheat bread, wild rice, quinoa, and barley.

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Picky Eaters

Alzheimer’s can have a huge impact on an individual’s appetite and food preferences. A senior who used to enjoy a wide variety of foods might become a very picky eater as the disease progresses. To combat those issues, you can experiment with foods that have different shapes, colors, and textures. An example would be giving your loved one applesauce instead of whole apples. You should also provide plenty of finger foods that are easy to eat.

Foods to Avoid

There are a few foods and beverages that must be avoided following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, including high-sodium snacks, soda, candy, fried foods, processed meats, and store-bought baked goods. Your loved one also needs to avoid most alcoholic beverages, which could trigger or worsen certain symptoms. Having a treat on a special occasion is fine for most seniors with Alzheimer’s, but the vast majority of their diet should consist of fresh produce, high-quality protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.

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