By Amanda Froelich
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food,” said Hippocrates, the father of modern-day medicine. Even in 400 BCE, the physician knew the importance of a healthy diet. And now, in 2018, his infamous words are finally being received by the general public.
In the UK, an 82-year-old Sylvia and her son, Mark, learned the importance of eating nutrient-dense foods which are high in antioxidants. It all began when Sylvia was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in December 2016. In the months leading up to the diagnosis, she continued to repeat engagements and birthdays.
Sadly, her condition continued to grow worse. Not only did Sylvia forget her own son, she once called the police on hospital staff who were caring for her. It was at this point that Mark, 50, thought he had lost his mother for good.
“When my mum was in hospital she thought it was a hotel – but the worst one she had ever been in,” said Mark. ”She didn’t recognise me and phoned the police as she thought she’d been kidnapped.”
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“Since my dad and brother died we have always been a very close little family unit, just me and my mum, so for her to not know who I was was devastating,” Mark continued. “We were a double act that went everywhere together. I despaired and never felt so alone as I had no other family to turn to.”
When all hope seemed lost, something extraordinary happened. Upon reviewing dietary recommendations outlined on the Alzheimer’s Society’s website and the native diets of healthy cultures, Mark and Sylvia devised a new eating plan that features brain-boosting foods. Blueberries, walnuts, broccoli, kale, spinach, sunflower seeds, green tea, oats, and sweet potatoes became staples in the 82-year-old’s diet. Occasionally, Sylvia would also treat herself to dark chocolate with a high cocoa content.
“In certain countries Alzheimer’s is virtually unheard of because of their diet,” said Mark. “Everyone knows about fish but there is also blueberries, strawberries, Brazil nuts and walnuts – these are apparently shaped like a brain to give us a sign that they are good for the brain.”
Around the time of the dietary change, Sylvia began to “challenge” her brain with activities such as jigsaw puzzles and cross words. She also started meeting people at social groups and began to use a pedaling device to exercise in her chair.
The simple changes significantly improved her condition. Said Mark, “It wasn’t an overnight miracle but after a couple of months she began remembering things like birthdays and was becoming her old self again, more alert, more engaged.”
“People think that once you get a diagnosis your life is at an end. You will have good and bad days but it doesn’t have to be the end,” he continued. “For an 82-year-old she does very well, she looks 10 years younger and if you met her you would not know she has gone through all this. She had to have help with all sorts of things, now she is turning it round. We are living to the older age in this country – but we are not necessarily living healthier,” said Mark.
The Alzheimer’s Society supports Sylvia’s approach to treating the condition. They even blogged about her success on the organization’s website.
“This country is lagging behind other countries, care homes are bulging with people who have been written off. But as people get older they still have a role to play in society,” said Mark, a lawyer. “People don’t realise but dementia is the number one killer in this country ahead of heart disease or cancer, but it doesn’t get the same funding, it is a crisis.”
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Source: Mirror UK