For several years, doctors have been saying what you eat, can affect the health of your heart. However, the same holds true for your brain, and there is growing evidence to support the claim.
A study conducted at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago shows that a particular diet plan may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, the diet was rightly referred to as the MIND diet. It was seen that even those who followed the diet “moderately well” reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s by about a third.
What is the MIND diet?
MIND stands for Mediterranean DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. The MIND diet is broken down into two groups of “brain healthy food groups” and “unhealthy food groups” that need to be avoided and eaten.
The diet incorporates two popular nutrition plans (DASH, dietary approaches to stop hypertension) and the Mediterranean diet which combine many elements that have been proven to benefit the health of the heart.
A healthy diet does more than in just helping us reduce weight but reduces the risk of heart diseases, diabetes and also improves the health of our brains.
Nonetheless, diet is one of the several factors that play a significant role in determining who gets the disease, as stated by Martha Clare Morris, Ph.D., nutritional epidemiologist, who is also a lead author of the MIND diet study.
The MIND diet study:
The study also concluded that factors like education, exercise, smoking, and genetics also play a pivotal role in preventing the development of Alzheimer’s disease. In the study, it was seen that the MIND diet helped protect against Alzheimer’s disease while consequently slowing the rate of cognitive decline, regardless of the prevalently established risk factors for Alzheimer’s.
According to the MIND diet study, which was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, a survey was conducted including 900 people between the ages of 58 and 98. These people underwent repeated neurological testing and filled out questionnaires related to food. It was concluded that the participants whose diets followed the MIND recommendations most closely had a level of cognitive functioning similar to a person 7.5 years younger.
Mentioned below are five foods included in the MIND diet study, which can help you improve your brain health:
Leafy green vegetables
The diet recommends frequent incorporation of leafy green vegetables in your diet. Plants like, collards, broccoli, spinach, and kale are packed with nutrients, and vitamins. Research has found that consumption of at least two servings of these leafy green vegetables can provide with the greatest of brain benefits.
However, the DASH and Mediterranean diet are not restricted to just these particular vegetables specifically, but it was found that inclusion of these vegetables made a huge difference in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.
While most of the diets focus on heart health and weight loss, this particular diet pays more emphasis on the importance of vegetables. Eating at least one other plant or a salad everyday considerably improves brain health and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s.
According to the MIND diet, nuts are a tasty snack for improving brain health. The diet chart was designed after conducting a thorough evaluation of the impact of specific foods on brain health. The MIND diet study concluded that nuts play a significant role in improving brain health and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Nonetheless, nuts are rich in antioxidants, fiber and healthy fats that can help reduce the risk of heart diseases and lower the levels of bad cholesterol. Several other studies also recommend the inclusion of nuts in the diet at least a few times a week for improving brain health. The MIND diet also recommends eating nuts at least five times each week.
The only fruit mentioned explicitly in the MIND diet are berries. “Blueberries are one of the more potent foods in terms of protecting the brain,” Morris said. Nonetheless, blueberries play a pivotal role regarding boosting brain health and improving memory.
In past studies, it has been noted that strawberries also have a positive effect on the cognitive function of the brain. Nonetheless, according to the MIND diet, berries should be eaten at least twice every week for improving your brain health.
If beans aren’t already included as a regular part of your everyday diet, then it’s about time they were. Beans are rich in protein and high in fiber. Moreover, they are also low in fat and calories.
Beans help in keeping the mind sharp and improving brain health while boosting memory. The MIND diet recommends that beans should be made a regular part of your diet.
Consequently, consuming beans at least three times each week help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Studies have shown that in the list of foods that improve memory, beans make it to the top of the list.
Whole grains and white meat
The major components of the MIND diet include whole grains, fish, and poultry. Nonetheless, whole grains are a vital component of the diet. Moreover, at least three servings of whole grains are recommended in this diet each day. It was found in the MIND diet study that including fish in the diet at least once every week helps in improving the functioning of the brain.
However, even though the Mediterranean diet recommends eating fish every single day, there’s no need to go overboard with it because according to the MIND diet, eating fish once a week is enough for keeping the brain healthy.
A poor diet negatively impacts the memory of a person and increases the chances of developing dementia. The early signs of Alzheimer’s include memory loss and a decline in reasoning skill, which if tackled with appropriately at the right time can be alleviated. Every few individuals experience one or a few of these signs at some point.
AUTHOR BIO: Erica Silva is a blogger who loves to discover and explore the world around her. She writes on everything from marketing to technology, science and brain health. She enjoys sharing her discoveries and experiences with readers and believes her blogs can make the world a better place.
Find her on Twitter: @ericadsilva1