There is no doubt that as we age a major concern is the health of our brain. However research from MIND (Mediterranean Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) is suggesting that protecting your brain from degeneration may be as simple as lifting a fork.
Martha Clare Morris, is a professor and director of the MIND Center fro Brain health at Rush University in Chicago and also the creator of the MIND Diet and author of Diet for the Mind (Little, Brown and Company, December 2017).
Morris states that brain-healthy foods include leafy greens and vegetables, whole grains, vegetable oils, berries, nuts seafood, poultry, beans and other legumes. Her plan targets foods that have been scientifically shown to improve brain health. These same foods also boost cardiovascular health as research shows that a healthy heart is often key to a healthy brain. The diet also claims to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress which can often be a trigger for the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Morris developed her diet after a study she performed in 2015 that tracked the eating patterns of 923 seniors. The participants who followed the MIND diet the longest showed less risk of developing Alzheimers. In fact results showed that the diet lowered Alzheimer’s risk by approximately 35 percent for those who made modest dietary changes and up to 53 percent for those who kept to the diet 100%.
The majority of foods in the MIND diet are plant-based foods that provide us with vitamins, minerals, brain-healthy omega-3s, antioxidants and phytonutrients.
“What we know is that certain foods are beneficial, whether you are talking about the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet, the MIND diet or the Nordic diet” says Heather Snyder, the senior director of the medical and scientific operations for the Alzheimer’s Association. “It’s really the idea that eating things that are low in saturated fat and high in antioxidants are going to be the most beneficial. The MIND diet does that and is a balanced diet that includes all the necessary nutrients. Eating a nutritions diet, staying physically active, keeping our brains active and staying socially active are all important” she adds. “Putting all that together is going to be the most beneficial of all.”
Obviously if you are deciding to change your diet drastically or fitness regime it is advisable to talk to your health care provider first to ensure it will ultimately be beneficial to you.