Food is medicine.
It’s a simple but important idea that SeAnne Safaii-Waite shares with her patients, colleagues and friends.
Safaii-Waite, a St. Luke’s registered dietitian nutritionist, has done extensive research about how people’s diets influence their health. Her conclusion? Diet and Alzheimer’s disease are linked.
“It is interesting to note that as other countries develop Western diet habits, their incidence of Alzheimer’s goes up,” Safaii-Waite said.
“Most of the science related to diet and Alzheimer’s points to the benefit of eating a plant-based, Mediterranean-type of diet, similar to what we see recommended for heart disease.”
Based on their research, Safaii-Waite and her partner, Sue Linja, recommend these foods for middle-aged or older people showing signs of memory loss:
Safaii-Waite’s Fall Harvest Soup recipe for our e-cookbook series is loaded with those all-important vegetables. Go for a walk, curl up with a bowl of soup and enjoy the fall leaves that are putting on a show right now.
“Another important tip for healthy aging is movement,” Safaii-Waite said. “Any activity that gets people out and moving is good for the brain and spirit.”
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
3 celery ribs (aka stalks), sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, undrained
3 cups diced potatoes
2 cups fresh green beans, ends trimmed and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, or to taste
8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels
16-ounce can of beans of your choice (garbanzo/black/kidney/pinto)
Note: Other vegetables may be added to personalize this perpetual soup
Nutrition information (per two-cup serving): Calories 181, fat 6g, saturated fat 1g, sodium 540 mg, potassium 917 mg, carbohydrates 28g, fiber 5g, sugar 7g, protein 9g
Chris Langrill is a writer and copy editor for the St. Luke’s Communications and Marketing department.