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Sunday, October 7, 2007

Mediterranean Diet Reduces Dementia Risk

You can have a lower risk of dementia from Alzheimer's if you like the following foods: fruit, vegetables, cereal, nuts, olive oil, pasta, rice and moderate amounts of red wine. These foods are part of the Mediterranean Diet, which includes very little meat. An article at BBC News titled "Med Diet Reduces Dementia Risk" explains that researchers at the Columbia University Medical Center studied the health of 2,200 people over a period of 4 years.

People who ate foods more often from the Mediterranean Diet had the lowest risk of developing Alzheimer's. The scientists concluded that a healthy diet can reduce risk by as much as 40%.

The researchers said that when lifestyle includes getting cholesterol and blood pressure checked, exercising, and controlling weight then risk of dementia later in life is reduced further.

The Mediterranean Diet is also discussed at the Mayo Clinic website. Greeks traditionally consume a lot of fruits, vegetables, pasta and rice. Bread is eaten there without butter or margarine, and so the diet is low in saturated fat and trans fat. They also consume fish regularly and the omega-3 helps to keep blood vessels healthy.

In summary, eating a Mediterranean Diet, getting blood pressure and cholesterol checked, exercising, and controlling weight will help to reduce your risk of having dementia from Alzheimer's. It's also heart healthy, and a good way to avoid strokes.

The Mediterranean Diet has been recommended for decades already for its heart healthy characteristics, and since cooking is one of my hobbies I've been reading recipes on it for a long time. I've been using olive oil on bread with tomatoes and herbs, and this is delicious. Good-by to the butter and margarine. Whole grain pasta and brown rice have been around for a long time, but many people are simply not used to these foods or open to change.

I've even used brown rice in a rice pudding, and it was great. Whole grain pasta can be mixed with vegetables or sauces and this too tastes wonderful. Some of my elderly seniors are not used to using whole grain foods, but after I let them have a sample they decide they like it.

In regards to the other suggestions, many people buy a blood pressure monitor at the drug store now and take readings regularly at home in addition to the readings at the doctor's office to be sure there isn't a problem.

Exercise and weight loss - the sign of our times. It's difficult sometimes for seniors to exercise, but physical therapists can design programs to meet their needs. Weight loss might be easier on a Mediterranean Diet because the fattening junk foods would be eliminated.

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