We try to do everything we can to take care of our bodies, be it exercising, following a diet, or to get regular check-ups. However, we do next to nothing when it comes to our brain. Researchers claim that the food we eat affects our brain health and our heart health. A new study by researchers details a diet plan that might help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and improve brain health. According to research, the Mind diet plan may reduce the risk of the onset of Alzheimer’s by about 53%.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurologic disease that causes the brain to atrophy (shrink) and the brain cells to die. It destroys memory and many other mental functions. Forty-four million people worldwide live with this disease or a related form of Dementia.
The MIND diet, an acronym for the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, is a mix of the DASH diet and the Mediterranean Diet. The Mind diet is also different from these diet plans in various aspects since it has been proved to be the most successful of these three in reducing the risk of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
There are changes in the brain that are visible years ahead of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, making Scientists believe that this window can be used to delay the onset. They are looking for dietary changes, lifestyle changes, or drugs to make this possible. The Mind diet is a diet plan with brain-boosting food groups that promote cognitive health.
How Does The Mind-Diet Boost The Brain?
The Mind diet emphasizes the plant-based food groups since they are minimally processed and suggests limitations on meat products and other food groups high in saturated fat. Including flavonoid-rich foods in one’s diet can help the brain function better. According to a study, berries including Strawberries, Blackberries, and Blueberries can delay cognitive ageing in women by up to 2.5 years. Eating green leafy vegetables like Kale, Spinach, and Collard greens may also help to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Alzheimer’s disease is linked to these two conditions. Antioxidants are abundant in each of these food groups, and they can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.
The Mind Diet Food Lists
The Mind diet is broken down into two lists, one of which includes ten food groups named brain-healthy foods, and the other lists five food groups named unhealthy foods. Brain-healthy food includes the following food groups.
- Leafy Green Vegetables
The Mind diet recommends 6-10 servings per week of green leafy vegetables such as Spinach, Collards, Kale, Broccoli, and other green veggies containing Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and other nutrients. The DASH and the Mediterranean diet plans do not have these particular veggies, but research proves that integrating them into the diet plan makes a real difference in preventing Alzheimer’s.
According to the Mind diet, nuts such as Cashews, Pistachios, and Almondsare a good food group for boosting the brain and are recommended at least five times a week. They contain fibre, healthy fats, antioxidants and have also been known to lower the risk of heart disease and reduced bad cholesterol.
The only food group particularly mentioned on the Mind diet is berries, and they should be eaten at least twice a week. Berries like Blueberries, Blackberries, Strawberries, and Raspberries supposedly protect the brain and show good results when effects on cognitive function are studied.
Beans are high in protein fibre and low in fat and calories. Additionally, they keep our minds sharp as well.The Mind diet suggests including beans like Pinto beans, Black beans, and Kidney beans in the diet plan at least three times a week.
- Whole Grains
Whole Grains are the key component of the diet plan and are recommended for at least three servings a day.
Eating fish like Quinoa, Salmon, or Trout at least once a week helps protect brain functions according to the Mind diet.
The Mind diet recommends at least two or more servings per week. Poultry like Turkey and Chicken are considered an important part of the brain’s healthy eating plan.
- Olive Oil
The Mind diet recommends that olive oil be used over any other oil form for any cooking purposes. When used as the primary oil, researchers say that olive oil shows better protection for the brain from cognitive decline than other oils used in food preparation.
Yes, you read it right. The Mind diet recommends that we take one glass of wine every day. Only one, though, and no more. A glass of wine to finish the day and finish up the list of the ten food groups that make up the brain-healthy food groups.
Next, we have the five food groups which make up the unhealthy brain food, and the intake of such food items should be limited.
- Red Meat
The Mind diet does not ban any food groups but limits the intake of some of them. One such food group is red meats such as Ground Beef, Lamb, Steak, and Pork. The diet plan restricts the consumption of these meats to no more than four servings per week to protect brain function and prevent dementia.
- Butter and Stick-Margarine
The diet plan restricts butter and margarine to just one tbsp (tablespoon) per day. Olive oil, which is included on the healthy brain food list, should be used instead of these two for all cooking purposes.
According to the Mind diet, any cheese, be it Brie, Mozzarella, or Cheddar, should be avoided as much as possible for better brain health. They shouldn’t be served not more than once per week.
- Sweets and Pastries
As bad as powdered sugar and sugar products are for our body, they are even worse for our brain. The Mind diet suggests that we limit ourselves to only five servings per week to protect our brain from other types of Dementia and other negative effects.
- Fast or Fried Foods
Fast Foods or Fried foods have never made it to the healthy side of a diet plan, and similar is the case for the Mind diet. The diet plan suggests that you indulge in these food groups such as Chicken nuggets, Fried chicken, French fries, Onion rings, or Hamburgers only once a week.
According to the researchers, even if it is only followed, the diet plan will reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s and will be beneficial.
The Mind diet plan is beneficial to people at a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease or any other form of dementia. Still, it can also be helpful to everybody since its eating pattern doesn’t have any negative side effects. Even if you cannot rigorously stick to the diet, it will be quite easy to follow since it does not ban any food groups and has an easy routine to follow.