Now, I know I’m not about to shock any of you when I say that your diet impacts your health. But it might not be quite as obvious how much what we chow down on actually impacts our brains, and more specifically, our memory. So if you're looking to find out the fruits, veggies, and healthy fats we indulge on to keep our memories sharp, keep reading.
Leaving the doctor’s office 10 years ago with nothing but a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer's and instructions to get my 56 year old mother’s will in order, I was determined to make sure Ma’dukes didn’t end up just another number on a chart. As her primary caretaker, it was up to me to seek out the best hacks for navigating the coming years in this next chapter of our lives. And you better believe I wasn’t going to let it get the best of us, honey! As the capable, driven baddies that we are, we dove in head first: Starting with diet.
After some research, and actually trying out a few different options, we landed on a Mediterranean Diet. The gist of it is: daily veggies, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats, plus fish, poultry, beans and eggs, dairy in moderation, and limited red meat (if any).
Right away we saw changes. This was super impactful with Ma’dukes and helped to stimulate her cognitively. Plus major *bonus starz* because it actually has been proven to slow down the decline caused by the disease. Please note that every body is different and I am not a licensed professional dietician or nutritionist but with my mom specifically, I’ve noticed her energy levels are higher and she is way more engaged when she sticks to a Mediterranean diet.
Turns out, there are a few key ingredients in foods of this diet that have been shown to improve memory function. For example, omega-3 fatty acids are essential for maintaining healthy brain cells, and can be found in abundance in fatty fish like salmon and tuna. Antioxidants are also important for protecting the brain from damage, and can be found in foods like berries, dark chocolate, and green tea. Finally, vitamin E has been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease and can be found in nuts and seeds. So next time you’re looking for a snack to help you power through the day, reach for one of these memory-boosting foods. Your brain will thank you!
7 superfoods you should have on hand and how to prepare them!
Below are the Superfoods we swear by here at the Log Cabin:
- Coconut Oil
- Literally aids in mending brain function, like hello? This stuff makes any meal into a treat AND is going to be a superhero in mending the brain!
- The easiest way to mix this into your diet, is to cook with it. Rather than using olive oil or butter, grab the coconut oil. Also, pro-tip, super yummy in your coffee or tea in the morning.
- Leafy greens, yes queen! They reduce the accumulation of beta-amyloid proteins which is a key player in the deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s.
- Leafy greens + coco oil is a must-try. Wilt some chard, spinach, or kale on the stove top with the oil and watch a full bag of greens turn into a serving or two. A little salt and pepper and BAM, you’re on Top Chef!
- Whole grains
- Proven to slow down cognitive decline. Prolonging cognitive ability here is obviously a HUGE goal.
- We get most of our whole grains from oatmeal in the morning at the log cabin, but you can also try dinners with brown rice, or adding some cooked, seasoned, barley to a veggie medley.
- Dark skinned berries in general, but blueberries are fa’sho at the top of the list. Helps with blood flow, brain activity, AND memory. Ten’s across the board!
- No prep needed, just eat ‘em by the fist full.
- Thought to prevent clumps or entanglements of proteins in the brain found in Alzheimer’s patients. Aka magic?!
- I love adding a stick to our coffee or oatmeal for instant-Fall, instant-delicious vibes.
- Fish in general has so so many healthy fats that we live for, Salmon is just our go to.
- We’re always on the hunt for quick cook times and it doesn’t get any more low maintenance than fish. Put the oven around 450, brush on some trusty coco oil, bake skin side down, and pull her out in about 15 mins.
- More Omega-3 Fatties for the WIN!
- Again, no real prep necessary, snacking all day, everyday. Or crumble them over those leafy greens from earlier. Oh boy...
Like I’ve said 100 times before, everyone’s journey is a little different. Different things, activities, diets, etc., work for different people. For us, the Mediterranean Diet has turned out to be the best (and tastiest) option for us to prevent decline with Ma’dukes. What works for us might not be the holy grail for everyone but our goal is to inspire and educate here.
If you’re someone in the early stages of a diagnosis, looking for help, you are SO not alone and a diagnosis is the furthest thing from hopeless. We at the Log Cabin are here to support you and encourage you in your journey to THRIVE in the midst of struggle. We can do hard things! Especially if it involves a bunch of actually super incredible meals, amiright?!
Until next time, xo Nikki 💋
TTYL, XOXO Nikki♥♥
Additional Helpful links to check out: