Our memory is a precious entity. As we age, protecting our mind and memory becomes increasingly important. But how do we do that? It may be as simple as changing your diet. Recent studies have shown that what you eat plays a very important role in protecting our brain’s health.
There are too many diets out there to count, but researchers have found two diets in particular that are connected to brain benefits - the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. While both have qualities that can protect both our memory and cognition, a hybrid of the two proves to be even better. We give you the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, otherwise known as the MIND diet.
The MIND diet takes the best parts of both the Mediterranean and DASH diets and merges them into one, specifically focusing on foods that impact brain health. A 2015 study showed the MIND Diet had a much higher success rate of preventing cognitive decline than the Mediterranean and Dash eating plans on their own. Results were based on studying Alzheimer’s free adults between the ages of 58-98. Those who strictly adhered to the MIND diet showed a 53% less chance of developing Alzheimer’s, and even those who only moderately followed the diet showed a 35% less chance of Alzheimer’s. The longer people followed the MIND diet, the less chance they had of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.
The MIND diet encourages eating anti-inflammatory foods rich in antioxidants to help protect you from cognitive decline.
Want to give it a shot? The MIND diet focuses on the following elements:
- Green leafy vegetables – 6 servings a week of kale, spinach, cooked greens and salads
- Other vegetables – 1 serving per day
- Berries – 2 or more servings a week
- Nuts – 5 servings a week
- Olive Oil – use this as your main cooking oil
- Whole grains – 3 or more servings a week of grains such as oatmeal, 100% whole wheat bread, quinoa, brown rice and whole wheat pasta
- Fish – at least 1 serving a week. Fatty fish is best because provides higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid fried!
- Beans – at least 3 servings a week
- Poultry – at least 2 servings a week. Avoid fried!
- Wine – one optional glass a day
Studies have shown that eating foods high in saturated fats and trans fats can increase your risk for Alzheimer’s. The MIND diet suggests avoiding the following food groups to help prevent that:
- Butter and margarine
- Red meat
- Pastries and sweets
- Fried food – especially fast food!
It’s never too late to start the prevention process. Choose healthier options with the MIND diet, a recipe for optimal brain health.
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