Living a healthy lifestyle also means eating right to prevent brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. About 5.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and by 2050 that figure is expected to reach 16 million.
A Healthy Lifestyle Study Shows the Benefits of the MIND Diet
A new study demonstrates that a healthy lifestyle can prevent cognitive decline. You’ve probably heard about brain-boosting foods like fatty fish and dark chocolate. A recent healthy lifestyle study shows that a new diet plan could significantly reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
A Healthy Lifestyle Diet for Brain Health
The study shows that a particular healthy lifestyle diet, the MIND diet, can help prevent cognitive decline. The MIND diet aims to reduce dementia and the decline in brain health that often occurs as people get older. It combines aspects of two very popular diets, the Mediterranean Diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
In the study, the MIND diet—which stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay—reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 53% among strict adherents and by 35% among those who followed it pretty well. This new study was published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of The Alzheimer’s Association.
Study author Martha Clare Morris, a professor of epidemiology at Rush University in Chicago, says “Even moderate adherence to the MIND diet showed a statistically significant decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Neither the Mediterranean diet or DASH had that benefit with moderate adherence.”
What to Eat on the Healthy Lifestyle MIND Diet
10 Foods to Eat on the MIND Diet:
• Green, leafy vegetables: Aim for six or more servings per week. Examples: kale, spinach, cooked greens and salads.
• All other vegetables: Try to eat another vegetable in addition to the green leafy vegetables at least once a day. It’s best to choose non-starchy vegetables because they have a lot of nutrients with a low number of calories.
• Berries: Eat berries at least twice a week. Although the published research only includes strawberries, you should also consume other berries like blueberries, raspberries and blackberries for their antioxidant benefits.
• Nuts: Try to get five servings of nuts or more each week. Vary the type of nuts you eat to obtain a variety of nutrients.
• Olive oil: Use olive oil as your main cooking oil.
• Whole grains: Aim for at least three servings daily. Choose whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and 100% whole-wheat bread.
• Fish: Eat fish at least once a week. Choose fatty fish like salmon, sardines, trout, tuna and mackerel for their high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
• Beans: Include beans in at least four meals every week. This includes all beans, lentils and soybeans.
• Poultry: Eat grilled or roasted chicken or turkey at least twice a week. Avoid fried chicken.
• Wine: Aim for no more than one glass daily. Both red and white wine may benefit the brain. A lot of the research has focused on the red wine compound resveratrol, which may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
5 Foods to Avoid on the MIND Diet:
• Butter and margarine: Try to eat less than 1 tablespoon daily. Instead, use olive oil as your primary cooking fat Dip bread in olive oil with herbs.
• Cheese: The MIND diet recommends limiting your cheese consumption to less than once per week.
• Red meat: Aim for no more than three servings each week. This includes all beef, pork, lamb and products made from these meats.
• Fried food: The MIND diet highly discourages fried food, especially the kind from fast-food restaurants. Limit your consumption to less than once per week. Fried food should be a once in a while treat.
• Pastries and sweets: This includes most of the processed junk food and sugary desserts like ice cream, cookies, brownies, snack cakes, donuts, and candy. Try to limit these to no more than four times a week.
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