Marios Politis: The Importance of Diet in Relation to Dementia

Professor of Neurology Marios Politis has been recognised with numerous distinctions and awards, including the Movement Disorder Society Award for Outstanding and Innovative Clinical Research in 2012.

Dr Politis has also investigated the pathophysiology of movement disorders like Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease.

This story will examine the impact of diet and nutrition on managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and other types of dementia.

There is no single recommended diet for people with Parkinson’s disease. Nevertheless, consuming a healthy balanced diet incorporating plenty of fruits and vegetables has health benefits for everyone.

One aspect of maintaining a healthy diet is eating foods rich in antioxidants.

These are molecules that help protect cells from environmental stresses such as cigarette smoke and air pollution.

Fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, dark chocolate and beverages such as tea, coffee and red wine are all rich in antioxidants.

Dietary adjustments can help people with Parkinson’s disease to cope with common symptoms associated with the condition, such as constipation.

Medical experts recommend consuming at least six glasses of water per day and consuming fibre-rich foods such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, cereals and whole grain breads.

Increasing fluid and salt intake can help to stave off low blood pressure, another symptom associated with Parkinson’s disease.

However, it is important for people with heart or kidney problems to speak with their physician before increasing their sodium intake.

Limiting alcohol and caffeine intake and eating small, frequent meals can also help to boost blood pressure.

People with dementia often have problems with eating and drinking. Nevertheless, there are ways to help manage these issues.

Common symptoms such as memory loss can also make it more difficult for people with dementia to eat and drink well.

In addition, people with dementia may struggle to recognise food and beverages in front of them or be unsure about how to begin eating.

People with the condition often do not eat or drink enough, triggering weight loss and conditions like dehydration.

Experts at the Alzheimer’s Society suggest that adapting lifestyle aspects such as diet can actually help to reduce the risk of developing dementia.

There is mounting evidence that eating a Mediterranean-style diet can lessen the risk of developing cognitive problems such as impaired memory and thinking,

reducing the risk of some forms of dementia.

Investigations also suggest that this type of diet is also associated with reduced incidences of type 2 diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease.


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