5 Foods that Fight Dementia

Discover five delicious foods that can help fight dementia and boost your brain health.

Did you know that research has shown that certain foods and certain diets like the Mediterranean diet can play an important role in maintaining brain health and potentially reducing the risk of developing dementia?

Dementia is a term used to describe a variety of symptoms associated with cognitive decline. Some symptoms may include memory loss, difficulty with language or communication, impaired judgment, and changes in mood or behavior. Let’s take a look at five powerful foods that are part of the Mediterranean diet that have been shown to fight dementia and enhance cognitive function. By adding these foods to your diet, you can protect your brain health and benefit your overall well-being.

1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

It comes as no surprise that extra virgin olive oil is a highly protective ingredient. It’s the main component of the Mediterranean diet, used in numerous recipes. A new study from Harvard showed that consuming 7 g of extra virgin olive oil a day (which corresponds to 1 ½ tsp) was associated with a 28 percent lower risk of dementia-related death compared to those who rarely or never consumed olive oil. 
Another study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital analyzed data from 6,000 women over 65 and found that those who consumed higher amounts of monounsaturated fats, like those in olive oil, had better cognitive scores over time. Another study, the Three City Study, showed that moderate to intensive use of olive oil was associated with lower odds of cognitive deficits in verbal fluency and visual memory compared to non-users.

How much: the recommended amount typically falls between 25-40 grams per day, which is roughly equivalent to 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil daily.

Ideas and Tips for Using Olive Oil:

2. Apples and Pears

Yes, you may think of these fruit as ordinary, but in fact they are rich in a wide variety of “polyphenols”. Polyphenols refers to a broad category of chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds have been associated with reduced risk of dementia

How much: At least 1 serving every day

Ideas and Recipes to try:

3. Leafy Greens

5 Foods that Fight Dementia Greens

Greens are an important part of the Mediterranean diet. Research has shown that people who ate at least one serving of leafy greens a day had a slower rate of decline on tests for memory and thinking skills than did people who rarely ate these vegetables.

Greens can be used in salads, soups, incorporated in many recipes. In Greece, greens have a special name they are called “horta” which means grass, but it is a generic term for greens. Wild greens are typically foraged and consumed lightly boiled and dressed in olive oil and lemon juice.

How much: 2-3 times a week. 1 serving is 1 cup raw.

Recipes to try:

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4. Walnuts

5 Foods that Fight Dementia Walnuts

Nuts, particularly walnuts, are rich in antioxidants, these antioxidants reduce oxidative stress and oxidative damage. Studies suggest that consuming walnuts can maintain cognitive health and delay dementia.

How much: 1-2 ounces walnuts a day (30-60 g)

Recipes to try:

5. Fatty Fish

You may have heard that omega-3 fatty acids which are found in fatty fish are good for the brain. Research has shown that they reduce cognitive decline making them the perfect choice. Traditionally popular Mediterranean fish include sardines and anchovies both fatty fish that are cheap and low on the food chain and that means that they are low in contaminants compared to large fish.

How much: 2-3 times a week

Recipes to try:

Photos by Elena Paravantes All Rights Reserved

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  1. Thank you so much. My grandma had dementia, my mom passed away after having Alzheimer’s and now my Aunt has Alzheimer’s. I try to eat right to prevent getting dementia/Alzheimer’s. I am 64, I have 4children and 14 grandchildren. I don’t want them to go through what my siblings and I did with our mom.

  2. David Nichols says:

    At my age of 74, have completely changed my diet towards one more associated with the Mediterranean style. After receiving Olive’s cook book for Christmas and following her tasteful recipe’s, my brain function has continually improved for the better.

      1. This is very helpful and remind us to put basic foods during the week. In an easy way we can care our health. Thank you!