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Understanding nutrition and dementia: a practical guide


Eat to Cheat Dementia - coverBuilding on her first book Eat to Cheat Ageing, dietitian Ngaire Hobbins combines the complex science of brain health with practical nutrition advice in companion book Eat to Cheat Dementia.

Presented in the same easy-to-read language as the first, Eat to Cheat Dementia reviews the current science of nutrition and cognitive decline, looks at the influencers of brain health and gives advice on preventive evidence-based strategies.

It also presents a case for the power of food to support both physical and mental health of people already living with a dementia diagnosis.

Ms Hobbins said she was frustrated that nutrition was often forgotten following diagnosis even though it was the one thing people could do to improve their own quality of life or that of those they cared for.

“Almost 50 per cent of people when diagnosed with dementia have lost weight in the year prior to diagnosis and if that is not stopped, or is allowed to continue without intervention, it dramatically accelerates decline,” Ms Hobbins told Community Care Review.

“People with dementia are at risk of ending up prematurely in assisted care, not because of cognitive decline, but due to physical decline caused by malnutrition. All they need to avoid this outcome are guidelines and an understanding of strategies that can be employed to maintain health as long as possible.

Ngaire Hobbins

Ngaire Hobbins

“The book aims to change that and to provide advice to those living with a diagnosis, and those who care about them, about what they can do to maintain the best possible physical and cognitive function for as long as possible.”

The advice in the book also covers the process towards the end of life including information on empathy and palliation along with strategies and practical solutions.

Ms Hobbins said community care workers had the potential to boost quality of life and physical and cognitive health of clients living with a diagnosis of dementia if armed with appropriate nutrition information and practical strategies.

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