Mounting research on Alzheimer’s Disease has shown that the MIND diet is a very important factor in fighting against dementia. The results found the MIND diet (Mediterranean–DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) lowered Alzheimer’s risk by about 35 percent for those who followed it moderately well and up to 53 percent for those who were rigorous followers.
What is the MIND diet?
The MIND diet was developed by Martha Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center, Morris’ study, funded by the National Institute on Aging, followed the food intake of 923 Chicago-area seniors.
Strict adherence to this diet requires avoiding red meats, butter, margarine, cheeses, pastries, sweets, fried, and fast food. Instead, it emphasizes consuming the brain-healthy food groups:
1. MIND Diet: Leafy Greens
Any healthy eating plan will be heavy on fresh vegetables. The MIND diet concentrates on leafy greens for good reason: Two large-scale studies of older adults found that eating more than two servings of fresh vegetables a day was associated with slower cognitive decline overall, with leafy greens having the strongest effect. In one study, participants who consumed more than two servings of vegetables a day appeared to have a higher level of brain function equal to someone five years their junior. Leafy greens are rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that may help keep neurons healthy. For an extra flavor and brain boost, lightly dressing your salad in some olive oil! Its healthy fats increase absorption of vitamin E.
2. MIND Diet: Nuts
Nuts, especially walnuts, are a good snack for brain health. Walnuts have a significantly high concentration of DHA, a type of Omega-3 fatty acid, that has been shown to protect brain health in newborns, improve cognitive performance in adults, and prevent or ameliorate age-related cognitive decline. The MIND diet recommends eating nuts at least five times a week.
3. MIND Diet: Berries
Nature’s naturally sweet, deeply colored candy is a winner in the brain game! Blueberries and strawberries come out as #1 in delaying cognitive decline in women ages 70 and older. Eating at least one serving of blueberries or two servings of strawberries a week reduced brain aging by up to two and a half years compared with those who ate less of either fruit. Anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants compounds, help boost cognitive function by protecting neurons in regions of the brain related to learning and memory.
4. MIND Diet: Beans
This miracle food is not only high in fiber and protein and low in fat and calories, but they help keep the mind sharp with their plethora of nutrients! Magnesium benefits brain cell receptors to speed the transmission of messages, while also relaxing blood vessels, which allows more blood flow to the brain. The research suggests eating beans three times a week to help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
5. MIND Diet: Fish
The MIND diet research found that eating fish even once a week can help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s. If you eat fish just once a week, your hippocampus, the brain’s memory and learning center, is 14 percent larger than in people who don’t eat fish that frequently. If you have a stronger hippocampus, your risk of Alzheimer’s decreases.
6. MIND Diet: Wine
In addition to its heart benefits, wine of the red persuasion has been shown to help prevent cognitive decline. A glass a day keeps the neurologist away. Wine protects the brain by increasing blood flow to the brain and the naturally occurring polyphenols have been shown to improve neural communication. A 2014 British Journal of Nutrition study, which followed healthy subjects ages 43 to 70 for five years, discovered that red wine drinkers who consumed about one glass per day experienced the least memory loss compared with those who drank less. We’ll raise a glass to that!