St. Elizabeth Hospital, in partnership with LeBlanc's Frais Marche and the Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area, hosted an educational cooking workshop on Monday to offer tips and strategies on cooking and eating choices for Alzheimer’s caregivers and those living with the disease.
LeBlanc's Chef Sally gave meal demonstrations to showcase the various food and drink options best suitable for Alzheimer’s patients, as healthy eating plays a big role in decreasing the chances of someone developing Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
According to Dana Territo, Director of Services for the Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area, the brain requires a variety of healthy foods and vitamins to properly function. Too little consumption of clean foods leads to impaired cognitive functions, which induces memory loss.
Foods high in antioxidants such as leafy green vegetables, salmon and other cold-water fish, berries and dark skinned fruits, coffee, chocolate and extra virgin olive oil help to boost memory, while foods such as processed cheeses and meats, margarine, beer and white bread, rice, sugar, flour and pasta promote memory loss.
"When we don't have a diet rich in antioxidants then our brain cells can potentially be damaged earlier," Territo said. "Any antioxidants helps prevent and repairs the damage that are caused by excessive free radicals in our brains."
In a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, the Mediterranean Diet showed to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 34 to 48 percent. The diet focuses on eating primarily plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts. Other components to the diet include limiting red meat consumption to a few times a month, eating fish and poultry at a minimum of twice a week, replacing salt with herbs and spices and butter with health fats such as olive and canola oil.
"We recommend the Mediterranean Diet wholeheartedly for saving off Alzheimer’s and reducing your risk," she said.
There are various signs to be aware of that can signal the early stages of Dementia, Territo said. Early signs include problems with grocery shopping, skipping meals or not eating at all, becoming unreliable about eating history, beginning to forget he/she has already eaten and forgetting to drink or deliberately restricting fluids.
Colors also play a vital role in helping cope for those affected by Alzheimer's, as they are visual stimulant that aids in eating. The two colors found to have the most response is red and blue. Approximately 35 percent of Alzheimer's patients were found to eat more when a red or blue plate was available.
To find a nearby Alzheimer's screening call the Alzheimer's Foundation of America at (866) 232-8484 or visit nationalmemoryscreening.org.