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    Diet review: Picking the best diet for your patients


    Gluten-free diets

    Celiac disease may be a concern for our patients as well. This is a genetic autoimmune disorder in which patients are instructed to avoid ingesting gluten. In case you have not noticed the increasing “gluten free” section of your grocery store, gluten is a protein found in grains such as barley, wheat, and rye.

    In these patients, ingestion of gluten causes the immune system to attack its own small intestine. More information can be found here: https://celiac.org/live-gluten-free/glutenfreediet/food-options/.

    Related: Sunlight and its effect on eye health

    Diets for Alzheimer disease and dementia

    The Mediterranean diet has been reported to improve cognitive function and reduction in the risk for dementia.5 The diet has also been associated with increased cortical thickness.6

    The MIND (Mediterranean-DASH intervention for neurodegenerative delay) diet was created by researchers at Rush University Medical Center. It is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH diets. It was reported to slow cognitive decline and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

    The diet recommends green leafy vegetables, berries, whole grains, poultry and fish, and a daily glass of red wine. More information can be found at: https://www.rush.edu/news/diet-may-help-prevent-alzheimers.

    In our office, we measure the BMI on everyone. Now you can engage in conversation about a healthy diet and make suggestions to the patient’s primary care provider to promote overall health.


    1. Adams KM, Butsch WS, Kohlmeier. The state of nutrition education at US medical schools. J Biomed Education. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/357627. Accessed 5/25/17.

    2. Doheny K. DASH diet wins top spot again. WebMD. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20170103/dash-diet-wins-top-spot-again#1. Accessed 5/25/17.

    3. Scoditti E, Calabriso N, Massaro M, Pellegrino M, et al. Mediterranean diet polyphenols reduce inflammatory angiogenesis through MMP-9 and COX-2 inhibition in human vascular endothelial cells: a potentially protective mechanism in atherosclerotic vascular disease and cancer. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2012 Nov;527(2):81-9.

    4. American Diabetes Association. American Diabetes Association Releases New Nutritional Guidelines. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/newsroom/press-releases/2013/american-diabetes-a.... Accessed 2/2/2017.

    5. Petersson SD, Philippou E. Mediterranean Diet, Cognitive Function, and Dementia: A Systematic Review of the Evidence. Adv Nutr. 2016 Sep 15;7(5):889-904.

    6. Staubo SC, Aakre JA, Vemuri P, et al. Mediterranean diet, micronutrients and macronutrients, and MRI measures of cortical thickness. Alzheimers Dement. 2017 Feb;13(2):168-177.

    Read more from Dr. Schroeder-Swartz here

    Tracy Schroeder Swartz, OD, MS, FAAO
    Tracy Schroeder Swartz currently practices at Madison Eye Care Center in Madison, Alabama. She serves as Education Chair for the ...


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