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Is it Normal Memory Loss, or Alzheimer’s? Memory Boosting Foods for the Alzheimer’s Diet

Posted by on Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Many of us have wondered from time to time about whether small memory lapses are just part of the ‘normal’ aging process, or could be something more like the earliest signs of mild cognitive impairment (called MCI), which is the first apparent stage of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  On August 1, 2013, researchers at Vanderbilt University published evidence that cognitive complaints may be predictive of an AD diagnosis in the years to come.  What is the difference between normal memory loss and early cognitive impairment in AD? Click here to watch an interview on the Today Show with Kathie Lee, Hoda and Dr. Isaacson, Co-Author of The Alzheimer’s Diet and Author of Alzheimer’s Treatment Alzheimer’s Prevention: A Patient & Family Guide, or to learn more, read below. Remember that AD actually starts in the brain 20-30 years before the first signs of memory loss, leaving ample time to try several low-risk interventions (watch this video for the latest info). If you or a loved one has any signs of memory loss, get educated, get informed, and see a qualified healthcare professional for an evaluation.

Just because one is getting older does not mean that he or she will automatically develop dementia! AD is not inevitable, but remember that there are some changes in cognition that occur “normally” with age. This condition is called age-associated cognitive impairment. Symptoms may include intermittent memory loss, word-finding difficulties, and slowing of the speed of thinking. When cognitive changes are isolated to difficulties with memory, this condition is sometimes referred to as age-related memory loss.

how the memory works for Alzheimer's prevention

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In the past it seemed that memory loss was just a normal part of aging and many people deemed it “getting senile,” but today with much more scientific evidence available, this is not exactly the case.  More people than ever are concerned about early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease as well as Alzheimer’s prevention.  But how can we tell if memory loss is just a normal part of aging or when it indicates a more serious problem? 

AD is a condition where an individual will progressively lose their memory and thinking skills. Oftentimes, patients will attribute these cognitive changes to a part of the normal aging process. However, as time goes on, short-term memory declines and the most common problems include loss of orientation (e.g., not knowing the date), difficulty with communication (e.g., finding the correct words to say), changes in behavior, and impaired judgment. Some examples of memory loss include continually losing things, like keys or a cell phone. Misplacing objects, forgetting appointments, and repeating the same things over and over again are also common symptoms, which may be related to memory and/or concentration. The first observable signs of AD may not actually be memory loss, but may instead be a depressed mood, a loss of interest in pleasurable activities, a change in personality, increasing anxiety, or even a change in sleep patterns.

One major differentiation between the disease process and normal memory loss is that with Alzheimer’s disease, the impairments will eventually interfere with independent living.  We now know that AD really starts in the brain 20-30 years before the onset of symptoms, giving a wide window to try a variety of interventions. The cognitive impairments in Alzheimer’s disease may cause problems with remembering when and how to perform activities of daily living such as bathing and eating regularly.  It can also cause problems such as disorientation, or interfere with the ability to remember names of well-known people in your life, such as family members.

In age related memory problems, you may forget part of an experience, but those with Alzheimer’s can forget the entire experience ever occurred.  Another incidence that frequently happens with Alzheimer’s disease is the difficulty in following instructions, and the use of notes for memory cues is usually obsolete for those who have the disease.  All of these issues get progressively worse over time.

If you are wondering how to help with Alzheimer’s, there are many useful tips on assisting your friends or family members with dementia to eat a healthy Alzheimer’s diet.  A good laugh is a healthy way to cope with some things in life that may be very stressful to deal with otherwise, and may also be helpful at keeping memory loss at bay.

Studies indicate that specific nutrients are not only important for normal brain functioning, deficiencies of nutrients such as B12 can cause cognitive impairment. Some foods in the diet can even protect the brain as well as help improve functioning related to memory and performance of normal daily activities in those afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease.


These brain and memory boosting foods are not only outlined in the Alzheimer’s book- “The Alzheimer’s Diet,” a strategic plan for how to gradually integrate these foods into the daily eating routine is also included as part of healthy daily Alzheimer’s nutrition.

Memory Boosting Food 

memory boosting foods for Alzheimer's diet

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  • Cold Water Fish high in the omega-3 fatty acid such as salmon, tuna, and herring
  • Bright colored fruits including blueberries, strawberries, and red grapes
  • Dark green vegetables like mustard greens, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts
  • Nuts and seeds like sunflower seeds, flax seeds, pecans,  and walnuts
  • Antioxidants found in dark cocoa powder and red wine (in limited amounts)
  • Beans and Legumes
  • Spices such as curry and turmeric
  • Green tea

There are plenty of recipes for healthy memory boosting foods such as a tasty salmon fillet cooked over a bed of fresh herbs, yum! 

salmon on a bed of herbs part of Alzheimer's diet

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In Conclusion

Eating more memory boosting foods can even help you with everyday events such as a job interview for a sales position.  In today’s world, knowledge is power; so why not pick up a copy of “The Alzheimer’s Diet” book and learn how you can join the fight against Alzheimer’s disease by adopting an Alzheimer’s prevention diet today?

For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.

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