Canadian Brain Health Food Guide, the creation seeks to influence individuals
and institutions to choose smarter foods like beans, whole grains, and nuts
over prepackaged foods lacking in the nutrients scientists say are needed to
protect brain cells and stem disease.
for the Canadian entry into the brain-friendly field (joining the well-known
Mediterranean Diet, among others) produced a 36 percent reduction in the risk
of developing AD.
Carol Greenwood, a
professor of nutrition at the University of Toronto and a leader in creating
the Canadian brain health guide, tells Provider that her group of researchers
wanted to push the concepts of the Mediterranean Diet further to make it more practical
for Western followers. Some foods in the Mediterranean Diet may not be as
available to those not living in major metropolitan areas, like certain plants
and oils, and older individuals may not be as accepting of giving up their own
food choices and instead are directed to limit rather than abstain from things
like mashed potatoes, for instance.
primary incentive is that while there has been a fair amount of epidemiological
study in terms of relationships between nutrition and Alzheimer’s prevention, many
of those studies were modeling the Mediterranean Diet, so much so that the
Mediterranean Diet was starting to become the Holy Grail,” she says.
examining the Mediterranean guidelines and their push for more plant-based
consumption, Greenwood says her group developed the same style of a
brain-friendly diet but in a narrower and more culturally accessible way for
those living in places like Canada and the United States.
modeling we did was to give more information on foods you should be avoiding
and how much of that you can tolerate in your diet. I think it is kind of like getting
the ying and yang working in a global way,” she says. The basics on which foods
to avoid most include red and processed meats, butter, hard
margarine, cream, salty snacks, and canned soup, among a longer list.
paper Greenwood helped write for the Canadian College of Health Leaders, she
said the importance for people in their 50s to well into their 70s to live
healthier was extremely important in possibly staving off AD and dementia.
30 percent to 50 percent of cases of AD worldwide may be attributed to seven
modifiable, predominantly vascular and/or lifestyle-associated risk
factors—diabetes, midlife hypertension, mid-life obesity, physical inactivity,
depression, smoking, and low education attainment,” the paper said.
general, Greenwood argues that a lot of lifestyle risk factors, like obesity
and high blood pressure, must be addressed around the time people think of
retirement or before then to help prevent AD. However, a study published in
Spain even said that people in their mid-70s who altered their diets to a more
brain-friendly pattern saw cognitive benefits.
skilled nursing care centers and assisted living communities, Greenwood says,
though difficult because of cost considerations, there are ways to include
items like whole-grain pastas and sweet potatoes into diets to improve overall
health and possibly limit the chance of getting AD.
are some initiatives in Canada, like rooftop gardening, where providers grow produce
in their facility. There are things one can do to combine fresh with cost
savings, but it requires tremendous effort,” she says.
more information on the Canadian Brain Health Food Guide, access this site.