Due to the emotional and physical changes caused by dementia, there can be a significant impact on a person’s dietary intake of food and how they view their food. As the disease progresses there are often noticed changes in their eating routine and their capability of eating in a normal manner. There, may be difficulties with swallowing food, lack of appetite, or a change in their taste preferences.
It is essential that the person enjoys their food and eats a healthy, well-balanced diet that provides all the better their body needs to stay healthy. By making a few adjustments you can help keep mealtimes as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. Eating healthily doesn’t mean certain foods shouldn’t be eaten but should be served in moderation.
If you consider the types of foods the Alzheimer sufferers like and others he dislikes along with their capacity to manage the food you serve them they should retain an interest in the food put before them a lot longer. Stimulating their interest by the way you serve their food is a good way of doing this.
They must drink at least eight cups of fluid, such as water, tea/coffee, or juice every day as a low intake of fluid is likely to result in dehydration which increases the risk of constipation. Unfortunately, some people suffering from dementia don’t realize they are thirsty and will go for long periods without drinking unless prompted.
Choosing an assortment of foods from the five different food groups is an excellent way of ensuring a person suffering from dementia is receiving a balanced intake of food required for optimum health.
- Fruit and vegetables for an Alzheimers diet
Five portions of fruit and vegetables should be offered every day to guarantee a full range of the different types of nutrients needed. Fruits, (including dried and juiced) plus vegetables are included and packed with fiber and vitamins, such as antioxidant vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene.
These foods assist in the protection of healthy body cells from damage and help the immune system fight infections. Beta-carotene can be found in yellow and orange fruit and vegetables and dark green leafy vegetables. A good source of Vitamin E can be found in green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils, butter, and nuts.
Vitamin C is essential for healthy gums, teeth, and skin. A good source of vitamin can be found in oranges, strawberries and kiwi fruit, tomatoes, and potatoes. Drinking orange juice every day is a good way to ensure an adequate intake of vitamin C especially if the individual has difficulties eating fruit.
- Milk and dairy foods
Cheese and yogurt and other types of food made with milk, such as puddings, custard, and milky drinks provide calcium for bones and teeth and protein which is needed to build and repair body tissues. Vitamin D found in oily fish assists the absorption of calcium.
- Bread, cereals and potatoes
Foodstuff such as bread, pasta breakfast cereals, and potatoes provide energy and are rich in B group vitamins helping to keep the blood and nervous system healthy and helping break down foods to release energy.
- Meat, fish and alternatives
Poultry, meat, eggs, fish, offal, beans, nuts, lentils, and Soya products such as tofu contain an excellent source of protein. They also provide some extra B group vitamins. Meat, fish offal, and eggs are also good sources of vitamin B12 which is needed for a healthy nervous system and the formation of red blood cells.
Iron found in liver and red meat, oily fish, liver-kidney beans, and lentils all assist in keeping the blood healthy. Also eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables high in vitamin C will assist with the absorption of iron from food.
Oily fish, such as salmon and sardines is a very rich source of essential omega-3 oils and assist in maintaining a healthy heart and nervous system. it’s a good idea to get into the habit of consuming oily fish at least once a week if possible. If the person does not eat meat or fish, foods such as pulses (beans, peas, and lentils) nuts, eggs, cheese, and Soya can be eaten as a replacement.
- Fats, oils and other foods
Margarine, butter, olive oil, ghee, and vegetable oils should not be consumed in large amounts as they are a concentrated source of energy. Vitamins D and E which can be found in margarine and vegetable oils provide a good source of vitamin E.
- Other foods
Cakes, pastries, biscuits, confectionery, crisps, and soft and alcoholic drinks are not nutrient-rich and mainly provide calories or energy from fat and sugar. These should not be consumed too frequently they may dampen the appetite for more nutritious foods. However, they can be offered as a treat.