The connection between eating habits and brain health has been studied for decades, but until recently, little was known about how diet and nutrition affect the aging brain.

A groundbreaking study published in NeuroImage in 2019 linked nutrients in food to greater efficiency in brain networks and cognition performance, emphasizing the impact of diet on dementia prevention. Intelligence, memory, and executive functioning were all correlated with the nutritional biomarkers commonly found in whole foods.

Other research published in Neurology shows certain foods may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. One diet in particular—the Mediterranean diet—is attributed to providing protection against protein build-up in the brain that can lead to memory decline while also extending life!


Healthier eating habits are proven to prevent memory loss and every day researchers are gaining more insight into the link between nutrition and dementia.

Specifically, a recent study published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia found that people who follow the Mediterranean diet or the MIND diet are up to 54% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease!

That’s because the Mediterranean diet and its hybrid MIND diet are high in foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, and nuts. Each of these diets offer greater protection against memory decline in older adults!

  • Leafy green vegetables. Spinach, kale, collards, and lettuce have been associated with a slower rate of cognitive decline.
  • Solanaceous fruits. Eating lycopene-rich foods such as tomatoes, watermelon and eggplant can reduce inflammation, a hallmark contributor to Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Berries. Flavonoids, such as those found in blueberries, are known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics and neuroprotective properties.
  • Whole grains like oats, brown rice and whole wheat contain more fiber, B and E vitamins, and antioxidants than refined grains, plus antioxidants have been shown to reduce plaques in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Oily Fish. According to Harvard Medical School and other sources, fish is the single most important dietary factor in lowering the risk of cognitive impairment and may actually make you smarter!
  • Legumes, such as black beans, peas, chickpeas, peanuts and lentils offer more fiber and folate than any other food group while fueling the brain with magnesium, zinc and antioxidants.
  • Nuts and Seeds. Almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower, flax, chia and pumpkin seeds are high in omega fatty acids which aids in building cells required to maintain brain function.

While there is much to learn about how nutritional interventions can reduce or slow cognitive decline, eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and heart-healthy fats in an important part of maintaining mental fitness at any age.


If you are a caregiver, you know how challenging it is to maintain health and nutrition in those with dementia.

In the person with dementia, one’s sense of taste often diminishes over time. The feelings associated with hunger are no longer interpreted by the brain the same way they were in the healthy brain. Favorite foods may no longer be appealing. Vision may become impaired, making is more difficult to locate food on the plate. Fine motor skills decline, making eating more challenging. Even sense of smell wanes, reducing the effects of sweet and savory aroma molecules on the appetite.

The dementia diet used by Serenades Memory Care combats weight loss associated with dementia by incorporating research-based techniques proven to increase food intake and nutrition.

As part of the Bravo Dining Signature Program, certified dementia caregivers at Serenades are trained to leverage the powerful sense of smell, sight, hearing and taste to encourage eating and prevent weight loss. Special techniques are used to trigger neuron connections in the brain and reinforce the connection between hunger and food, including family-style meal preparation, visual cues, finger foods and aromatherapy.

Memory care programming based on science and research can greatly enhance quality of life in those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Find a Serenades Memory Care in Florida or call to learn more about dining services at Sonata Senior Living.


Visit Serenades and find out how a person-centered approach to care has allowed us to continually raise the standard in memory care assisted living.