Averting Alzheimers Women

What We Learned and What You Should Know: Averting Alzheimer's

The Bottom-Line

Alzheimer’s disease disproportionately affects women, especially women of color. Emerging research demonstrates that nutrition and lifestyle behaviors have a strong protective effect on neurodegeneration. The MIND diet is a nutrition therapy that emphasizes lifestyle behaviors that enhance healthy brain function, slow cognitive decline, and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The Facts

Lost your keys. Forgot the dry cleaning. Called your child by the dog’s name. In our modern society, memory problems are considered a normal part of aging. This may be because there are a whole lot of people in the United States affected by the disease.

Here are some fast facts:

  • 6.2 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease
  • By 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s is projected to reach 12.7 million
  • Alzheimer’s is considered the 5th leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • The total national cost of caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is projected to reach $305 billion in 2020.

For women and minorities, these numbers don’t get any better. African Americans are four times more likely and Hispanics are up to two times more likely than white Americans to develop Alzheimer’s. Women have a higher lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s than men; in fact, two-thirds of dementia patients are women. And on top of that, nearly two-thirds of dementia caregivers are women and it is more common for wives to provide informal care for a husband than vice-versa.

Do Genes Determine Your Destiny?

A glimmer of good news: research has profoundly stated that genes do not determine destiny, rather, they give us a range of when disease manifests. In fact, a longitudinal study recently demonstrated that the number of healthy lifestyle factors (nutrition, stress management, sleep, exercise, keeping mind active) a person participates in directly impacts their risk of Alzheimer’s dementia. Regularly practicing 4 to 5 healthy lifestyle factors may decrease your risk of developing dementia by 60%. This exciting revelation shows that individuals have more control over their risk of Alzheimer’s dementia simply by increasing healthy lifestyle factors.

Researchers have identified a simple pneumonic phrase—NEURO—to help individuals practice lifestyle behaviors that protect from neurodegeneration.

Teamsherzaimd Alzheimers Neuro

Nutrition – MIND diet, omega- 3’s, increase in plant-based nutrition

Exercise – regular exercise, moving, and standing

Unwind – meditation and stress management

Restore – purpose-driven activities and continual learning

Optimize – aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep and opt for social engagement/volunteering

Lastly, nutrition plays an integral role in feeding the brain and supporting cognitive function throughout the human lifespan. The Mediterranean-Dash Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet has demonstrated strong efficacy in reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or slowing cognitive decline. This research is groundbreaking for individuals suffering from dementia and for those with higher risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s dementia, especially for women.

Here is the quick rundown on the MIND diet:

9 Foods to Focus On

  1. Dark green leafy vegetables
  2. Other vegetables
  3. Nuts
  4. Berries
  5. Beans & legumes
  6. Whole grains
  7. Fish (not fried)
  8. Poultry (white meat and skinless chicken or turkey breast)
  9. Extra virgin olive oil

5 Foods to Avoid

  1. Red meat & processed meat (including beef, lamb, ham, burger, hot dogs, sausages, bacon, roast beef, salami)
  2. Butter & stick margarine
  3. Regular (full fat) cheese
  4. Pastries and other sweets – biscuits/roll, pop tarts, cake, snack cakes/twinkies, danish/sweets rolls/pastry, donuts, cookies, brownies, pie, candy bars, other candy, ice cream, pudding, milkshakes
  5. Fried food & fast foods (including fried potato chips)

Take Action

While Alzheimer’s dementia may impact women more, both men and women should follow these key tips for reducing risk and improving overall health. Genes are not destiny when it comes to dementia. Take action today to address your nutrition and lifestyle interventions with a health care provider, especially for those with a family history of Alzheimer’s. Remember, prevention is key and you have the power in your hands to take control of your health. Start by focusing on lifestyle factors shown to reduce dementia risk, such as nutrition, exercise, stress management, sleep and mental/social engagement. Be sure to pay extra attention to your nutrition and commit to trying the MIND diet or commit to adding one of the 9 MIND foods to eat each month. 

What Is Fnce


At FLIK Hospitality Group we believe in great food, great service, and great people. Our wellness first approach ensures our food supports healthy and delicious choices, specially curated by our team of culinary experts and registered dietitians. At FLIK, we believe in seasonality in sourcing our ingredients and providing a customized approach to the culinary and hospitality needs of each client. Our dedication to providing quality hospitality service is unparalleled in the industry.

Have feedback or questions for our team? Email us at flikblog@compass-usa.com.