Food for thought

There are currently 44 million people worldwide living with dementia, and, as life expectancy in almost all parts of the world continues to rise, it is estimated there will be as many as 135 million living with the condition by the year 2050.

These figures explain the interest of international services provider Compass, as the group’s healthcare and senior living division – or care sector as we call it in the UK – constitutes 20% of its global business.

That is why the company has leant its support to a new report commissioned by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) examining nutrition and dementia, and, in particular, looking at issues of prevention, treatment and the maintenance of bodyweight.

However, for anyone hoping for a definitive link between diet and the onset of dementia, the report shows there is no clear-cut evidence to support it at this stage.

Marc Wortmann, executive director of ADI, says: “This is an urgent problem worldwide if we don’t find a cure and we don’t find ways to delay the onset of dementia.

“People always ask ‘what can I do to prevent dementia?’ and we talk about nutrition, but I always have to say I don’t have hard evidence.”

There was some preliminary backing for the idea that a Mediterranean diet – more fish and carbohydrates, less meat and saturated fat, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and some red wine – may have a positive impact on dementia.

More research is needed, though, before firm conclusions can be drawn.

The report, though, was far more positive about the great strides being made in helping carers keep dementia sufferers well nourished, despite the challenges the condition poses to caterers.

Food for thought

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