Pam Gray, Bonaventure COO since 2004, has spent her career helping seniors live their lives to the fullest. Many people worry about getting dementia and Alzheimer’s as they grow older, notes Pam Gray of Bonaventure. In the following interview, Pam Gray, Bonaventure COO, talks about how food can impact brain functioning.
Information Nation: Thanks for joining us! Please tell readers about Bonaventure.
Pam Gray, Bonaventure COO: Thanks! Bonaventure is a network of senior living communities with campuses located in six states.
Information Nation: Tell readers what you know about brain disease in older adults.
Pam Gray, Bonaventure COO: It is not as prevalent as everyone might think. According to eMedicine physicians, as low as 1 percent of people age 60-65 have dementia, and about 30-50 percent of those over age 85.
Information Nation: The cases really jump up with age; why is that?
Pam Gray, Bonaventure COO: It is a fact that our bodies and brains deteriorate as we age; the older you get, the more problems you tend to face.
Information Nation: What are some of the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?
Pam Gray, Bonaventure COO: Memory loss is most commonly associated with these diseases. These are degenerative diseases, meaning someone may go from forgetting names or how to drive, to complete dependence on others to function.
Information Nation: How can food help combat brain disease?
Pam Gray, Bonaventure COO: Research has found so many foods that help keep the brain healthy and slow, reverse, or even stop these brain diseases from progressing.
Information Nation: What types of foods should we be eating?
Pam Gray, Bonaventure COO: Choose foods high in antioxidants. Antioxidants found in berries, for example, stop inflammation in the brain and allow cells to work better. There are also good antioxidants in spinach, grapefruit, and apples.
Information Nation: What if I don’t enjoy those foods?
Pam Gray, Bonaventure COO: Antioxidants can also be found in wine and dark chocolate!
Information Nation: What else?
Pam Gray, Bonaventure COO: The Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon have been found to lower the blood levels beta-amyloid, thought to be linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Information Nation: Where else can seniors get good fats?
Pam Gray, Bonaventure COO: Fish oil supplements are available and there are good fats in certain nuts. If fish oil is not your thing, a great alternative is flax seed oil.
Information Nation: What about Indian food?
Pam Gray, Bonaventure COO: Indian food can be great, especially if the dish contains turmeric! Curcumin, found in turmeric, has been linked to preventing Alzheimer’s.
Information Nation: What foods should be avoided?
Pam Gray, Bonaventure COO: Processed food and any saturated fats that clog up the brain.
Information Nation: Is this an all-or-nothing deal?
Pam Gray, Bonaventure COO: No, even incorporating some of these foods into the diet can be helpful.
Information Nation: Where can readers learn more about brain healthy eating?
Pam Gray, Bonaventure COO: WebMD, the Mayo Clinic, and AARP all provide great information.
About Pam Gray, Bonaventure, and its Programs
Pam Gray, with Bonaventure since 2004, has served seniors for over 20 years. Pam Gray and Bonaventure provide thousands of seniors with housing and individualized services throughout 37 communities. Away from work, Pam Gray of Bonaventure can be found growing beautiful things in her garden.