Dementia can be a devastating diagnosis to receive. And one of the most difficult aspects of dementia to deal with is the fact that a cure hasn’t been discovered yet. However, there are thankfully plenty of treatments and medications that are continually being researched as effective solutions for slowing down its progression.
For example, your diet and nutrition play an enormous role in slowing down dementia. With a healthy diet, medication, exercise, and cognitive treatments, your chances of slowing down the progression increase greatly.
But what does a brain-healthy diet include, and what are some of the eating habits people with dementia may want to stay away from? To learn more, we talked with some expert dietitians about the worst breakfast habits for dementia. Read on, and for more healthy eating tips, check out The #1 Best Food To Eat Daily To Slow Aging, Says Dietitian.
“Processed breakfast meats such as sausage and bacon can be problematic because they are highly inflammatory. This is because of their added nitrites, processing, and animal proteins and fats, which can increase inflammation (IGF-1) in the body and may increase plaques in the brain,” says Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, a registered dietitian and author of Recipe for Survival.
Consuming too much added sugar is one of the more harmful breakfast habits you can have for many aspects of your health, including your brain health.
“Sugar and processed foods are highly inflammatory and can increase blood sugars and the insulin response, as well as the inflammatory response (IGF-1). Individuals with dementia should try and eat a whole, mostly plant-based diet as much as possible, due to it being anti-inflammatory, high in phyto(plant)-nutrients, antioxidants, and other nutrients (fiber) that are very healthy and beneficial for brain health,” says Hunnes.
Although it can be tempting to skip breakfast on your busiest days, this habit may not be good for your brain.
“Skipping breakfast is the worst breakfast habit for dementia. Eating breakfast provides you with the energy you need to stay active all day long. Breakfast also helps you focus. Studies show that people who skip breakfast have a higher risk of developing dementia,” says Bill Bradley, RD, a registered dietitian and CEO at Mediterranean Living.
It’s okay to have a little bit of saturated fat in your diet, but experts warn that consuming too much of it can lead to some unwanted health issues, especially in regards to your cognitive health.
“When you can, pass on the cheesy omelet with bacon, home fries, and butter. These are packed with saturated fat, another inflammation booster. Studies on the MIND diet for cognitive health show that added sugar and saturated fat play a big role in worsening cognitive health and dementia and increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Anne Danahy, RDN.