best foods for dementia patients

4 Best Foods for Dementia Patients

Our nutritional needs evolve as we age. Older adults often need fewer calories but may require a greater level of nutrition. Several factors play a role in this shift: 

  • Activity levels 
  • Changes in metabolism 
  • Deterioration of bone and muscle mass 
  • Health conditions 
  • Medication 
  • Changes in body composition 

Another thing that can change as we grow older is our ability to maintain healthy eating habits. It’s not uncommon for older adults to lose interest in food or to have difficulty enjoying a meal.  And for those living with memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia, forgetting to eat is common. 

Mealtimes can become particularly challenging for caregivers who are trying to provide the nutrients their loved ones need. When meal planning for a loved one with dementia, know that food quality is more important than quantity. By including high-nutrient foods in meals, you’ll make a positive impact on their overall health and wellness.  

Apart from dietary and physical health, many foods have incredible cognitive benefits, as well. These include decreased inflammation, prevention of cell damage, and slowed mental effects of aging. Here are some of the most beneficial foods for dementia patients. 

1. Whole Grains 

You should avoid refined grains, but whole grains offer a host of benefits.  These include improved digestion and lowered cholesterol levels. Studies also report that those who eat a lot of whole grains have a 14 percent lower risk of stroke. 

Whole grains are relatively easy to incorporate into daily meal plans. For example, simple-to-prepare whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, and brown rice are all high in fiber, zinc, magnesium, and protein. For breakfast, try incorporating oats, unsweetened granola, whole wheat bread, and high-fiber cereals.  

2. Fruits and Vegetables 

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins A, C, and E — as well as magnesium, zinc, and folic acid.  Eating more produce is an excellent way for anyone, including older adults, to decrease inflammation and lower blood pressure. 

Some of the most powerful fruits and vegetables are broccoli, tomatoes, avocados, blueberries, raspberries, and cherries. Leafy green vegetables, including kale, spinach, and lettuce, are also excellent. For an extra boost of potassium, incorporate sweet potatoes, bananas, and prunes into your loved one’s meals. 

3. Lean Protein Foods 

Packed with zinc, iron, and vitamin B12, protein is the essential building block of a strong body. Some of the most powerful proteins are: 

  • White-fleshed fish like cod, halibut, or bass 
  • Plain greek yogurt 
  • Beans, peas, and lentils  
  • Tofu 
  • White-meat poultry 
  • Lean beef 
  • Low-fat milk 
  • Egg whites 

4. Fish and Omega-3 Oils 

An older couple cooking in the kitchen.

Fish is a low-fat, high-quality protein boasting a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s have strong ties to optimal health and brain function. In fact, numerous observational studies show that people who eat more fish have slower rates of mental decline. 

Salmon and tuna are among the most popular types of fish. However, you shouldn’t be afraid to incorporate other fish into mealtimes. Cod, mackerel, and trout are just a few of the other types of fish that might be available at your local supermarket. 

Nutrients Matter Most 

Planning meals for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be challenging — but also rewarding. The best foods for dementia patients to eat are vast and varied but they all have powerful benefits. This provides caregivers with a lot of flexibility and freedom when it comes to preparing meals. 

One easy way to provide a variety of healthy foods is to focus on more meals with smaller portions. Vegetables, fruits, and whole grain crackers are some of the best finger foods for dementia patients. They are full of nutrients and easy to eat in small portions.  

How Foods Can Help With Memory  

Science tells us that food can help dementia patients by delaying symptoms. All of the satisfying and healthy foods we’ve listed above are good for not just your body, but also your brain.  

We place tremendous importance on creating nutritious and delicious meals at the Moments. Our culinary team incorporates fresh, nutrient-rich ingredients into every meal. We focus on the quality of each meal to nourish our residents’ bodies and their minds. Mealtimes are some of the most enjoyable moments our residents experience every day.   

Visit us to learn more

Published On: March 29, 2024