Want another great reason to eat healthy, besides just losing weight? The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and Mediterranean diets have long been associated with brain health benefits, however new research shows that combining the best of each may maximize protection against age-related memory decline. Introducing the MIND Diet…
MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. It specifically includes foods and nutrients that scientific studies have shown prevent dementia and loss of brain function as you age. A recent study linked the MIND Diet to a slower rate of cognitive decline – equivalent to 7.5 years of younger age. The same study showed people who followed the diet closely were 53% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Even small changes were shown to reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
The MIND Diet encourages these 10 food groups:
1. Dark green leafy vegetables: At least six servings per week (e.g., spinach, kale and other salad greens)
2. Other vegetables: at least one per day
3. Nuts: Five servings per week (note: peanuts are not considered nuts)
4. Berries: Two or more servings per week
5. Beans: At least three servings per week
6. Whole grains: Three or more servings per day
7. Fish: Once a week
8. Poultry: Two times a week (e.g., turkey and chicken)
9. Olive oil: Use as your main cooking oil
10. Wine: One drink-equivalent per day
It suggests limiting these 5 food groups:
1. Red meat: Less than four servings per week
2. Butter and margarine: Less than one tablespoon per day
3. Cheese: Less than one serving per week
4. Pastries and sweets: Less than five servings per week
5. Fried or fast food: Less than one serving per week
The good news is that the longer people who stuck with the diet, the greater the benefits. The combination of lean protein, omega-3 fats, antioxidants and fiber, coupled with lower levels of added sugar and saturated fat reduces inflammation that may trigger and/or speed up cognitive decline.
Visit the American Society for Nutrition for more information on healthy dieting.