Eating healthy for your brain
Is it true that Alzheimer’s and dementia could be linked to what we eat? If it is true then I am in serious trouble as I put a piece of pizza in my mouth. As I am approaching the age of being in my mid 50’s I am becoming more aware of what I eat and how much stress I am under. You see my father and uncle both had early onset Alzheimer’s when I was only 15 years old and they were in their mid-fifties when they were diagnosed. Back then there was not much known about the disease so we had nothing really to contribute to why my father and his brother came down with this terrible disease.
While doing some research on another article I came across several articles about this new fad diet called “The MIND diet”. Seeing these articles peaked my interest since I am constantly thinking about what are my chances of getting Alzheimer’s since it can be passed down through the jeans. Research has shown that dieting, exercise, keeping the mind active, getting plenty of rest, and stop smoking or using anything with nicotine in it will help significantly reduce the odds of developing Alzheimer’s or other dementia diseases. As I was reading these articles I found that the one diet they all talked about was “The Mediterranean Diet” or a combination of this diet along with “The Dash Diet”. The combination diet called “The Mediterranean Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay” diet or (MIND) diet relies on banning five unhealthy food groups; red meat, butter or margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and of course everyone’s favorite food which is fried and fast food.
This past week some new research was released during the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference which took place in London that older adults that followed a eating plan of plant based diet like the Mediterranean or MIND diet lowered the risk of dementia by a third.
What is the MIND or Mediterranean diet?
First off the Mediterranean diet is not a typical traditional form of Western eating. Say goodbye to red meat, pork, butter, refined sugar, flour and fats. The true diet is very simple, the majority of the meal is fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds, nuts, and extra virgin olive oil.
People that follow the MIND do not reject everything that the people reject in the Mediterranean diet but they stay pretty close to Mediterranean diet but add in a few other key ingredients. The MIND diet consist of six servings a week of green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, collards broccoli and other green vegetables that are packed with vitamins A and C. This along with other forms of vegetables made a difference in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s. The MIND diet also recommends at least five servings a week of whole grains and nuts is a must. Nuts contain healthy fats, fiber and antioxidants which help to lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Along with this they add in at least three servings of beans, two servings of berries, two servings of chicken or turkey and at least one serving of fish per week. Too top things off the MIND diet also includes one glass of wine per day. Wine is considered part of the top 10 brain healthy food groups that works in conjunction with the foods above to help protect the brain against Alzheimer’s disease.
With the MIND diet you do not cut out all red meat but they limit the consumption to no more than four servings per week. Butter and stick margarine is limited to only a tablespoon per day and use extra virgin olive oil in place of butter. When it comes to cheese, if you want to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s than only eat cheese once a week. Sweets and pastries not only are bad for the waistline but they are terrible for the brain. The MIND diet says to limit your consumption to no more than five treats per week.
It has been noted and published that people that consistently eat by the MIND diet will be healthier and reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Even if you slip up on the diet once in a while researchers still say it can still be beneficial to you and will continue to reduce your risk of developing this terrible disease.
Three great articles about dieting and dementia: