In support of Nutrition and Hydration Week we would like to share a blog written by LBS supporter Rebecca Avery
Lewy body dementia
Lewy body dementia (LBD) is the second most common form of age-related neurodegenerative dementia after Alzheimer’s, accounting for approximately 15-20% of all people living with dementia. Lewy body presents as a decline in cognitive abilities and may also cause visual hallucinations, leading to unusual and sometimes uncomfortable behaviour. The disease itself is characterised physically by the presence of “Lewy bodies” in the brain. These bodies are clumps of alpha-synuclein and ubiquitin protein located in neurons that have been identified in patients’ brains. The cause of Lewy body disease is unknown; however individuals affected by Lewy body generally possess a protein commonly associated with Parkinson’s disease.
As with any illness or disease exercise, nutrition or both combined can prove challenging, not solely for the persons but those around too. Cognitive changes impair mood, skills, senses, muscle tone and every day bodily functions. Sensory changes towards food groups are often observed in the progression of dementia, along with malnutrition.
The question is how intrinsic is diet with dementia, particularly Lewy body dementia?
In all stages of dementia diet is imperative; period!
During all stages a balanced diet of essential nutrient value food groups are imperative to health & wellbeing; Vitamins & minerals, anti-oxidants & anti-inflammatory combinations along with hydration. Regular physical activity maintains or builds muscular strength, cardiovascular strength along with core stability reducing the incidence of falls. Whilst the practicality of these may not always be easy they are essential to maintaining a health & wellbeing.
Diet plays a key role in cognitive decline and disorders. There are some foods to avoid when looking at preventative development of cognitive disorders; whilst there are foods to ensure daily consumption of also.
Sugar and refined carbohydrates — Refined carbohydrates and concentrated sweeteners ideally should be removed from dietary intake as this will support reducing inflammation and help maintain steady blood sugar levels. Sugar & fats have been shown to attribute to cognitive decline when large amounts are consumed, therefore healthy fats & sugars are essential to maintaining cognitive health. When sugar intake is reduced, our brains will use ketones as energy.
Any food containing toxins or additives: The best way to avoid toxins and additives is to completely avoid processed foods.
Alcohol — Best to avoid alcohol all together since it can causes brain cells to die faster than normal.
Foods to help treat or prevent LBD:
Organic, unprocessed foods — Source local produce foods that are free from inflammatory pesticides and additives, but loaded with nutrients.
Vitamin K – Dark leafy greens are packed with Vitamin K. Lutein and beta-carotene can help keep the brain healthy and support brain functioning. K rich foods include Avocado, Apple, Green Grapes, Honeydew melon, Kiwi, Lime, Green Pears, Artichoke, Asparagus, Broccoli, Sprouts, Green Beans, Cabbage, Celery, Cucumber & Kale.
Berries – They’re small but mighty as berries are low in sugar but high in anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Blackberries, Blueberries, Cranberries, Strawberries, & Raspberries.
Oily Fish — DHA (Omega-3 Fatty Acid) is specifically critical for brain health. Oily fish sources include Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel, Trout, Tuna & any other small oily fish are packed with DHA.
Coconut Oil — Provides the brain with ketones that it can use instead of glucose.
Avocados & Avocado Oil — Avocados can help lower depression and anxiety. Avocados and avocado oil are some of the richest sources of monounsaturated fats in the world.
Anti-inflammatory spices — Add to daily diet where possible anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric and ginger on a daily basis.
Green tea — Contains polyphenol antioxidants that help fight free radicals. It also contains thiamine, which elevates dopamine levels in the brain and has a general calming effect.
A healthy, nourishing diet, regular exercise and daily mental stimulation are fundamental when looking to reduce the risk of developing LBD or improve the health & wellbeing of a person living with LBD.
Rebecca J Avery
BSc (HONS), ANutr.
Nutrix Nutrition – Director