Have you ever heard of the MIND diet for dementia? M for Mediterranean, I for Intervention, N for Neurodegenerative and D for Delay. The aim of the MIND diet is to prevent, reduce and even reverse the onset of progress of dementia and brain function as people age. The MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).
A Diet for the MIND, Against Dementia
People who naturally stick to the Mediterranean and DASH diets are healthier and live longer, according to research. They also have less heart disease and diabetes, less stress and fewer aches and pains. The MIND diet is so pure that it decreases oxidative stress, being more detoxifying, and it reduces inflammation, the first sign of dis-ease in the body.
Researchers looked closely at the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet to specially formulate a diet that would stop dementia in its tracks – or at least boost the function of the brain and cognitive health. Many studies have been done on the Mediterranean diet which reveal that it helps people lose weight, it prevents heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes and early death. People living in the Mediterranean region live longer, have more energy, move more and enjoy a healthy outdoor lifestyle. They eat in moderation and tend to avoid processed and refined foods. The bottom line of the Mediterranean diet is to eat plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans and pulses, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil. Eat chicken, dairy and eggs in moderation and eat very little red meat. Sugar and processed foods are out.
Specially Formulated from the Mediterranean and Dash Diets – for Longevity
The DASH diet was formulated to prevent high blood pressure which causes heart conditions – so the diet is based on as much fresh fruit and vegetables as possible, some lean chicken, fish and beans and very little red meat, salt and sugars and fat. This diet does lower blood pressure. The main fruits advocated by both diets are berries while vegetables are all in, as all vegetables have wonderful benefits for health, preferably eaten raw.
There are no set rules for the MIND diet as it is common sense to eat as much fresh fruit and vegetables as possible, filling up on other healthy foods.
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The basic MIND “rules” to follow go like this:
- Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables including kale, spinach, salads and cooked greens (6 or more servings a week)
- Eat other vegetables once a day, preferably non-starchy for less calories
- Eat berries at least twice a week for their antioxidant qualities
- Eat nuts every week, as many as five servings – raw, non-salted nuts
- Dribble olive oil over salads and foods, preferably not heated
- Eat whole grains, about three servings a week, such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, wholewheat breads and pastas
- Eat fish once a week, fatty varieties like sardines, salmon, trout, tuna – omega 3 fatty acids are vital
- Each beans in at least 4 meals a week
- Eat chicken or turkey about 2 times a week but not fried
Beware of these foods on the MIND diet to avoid deterioration in the brain:
- Butter or margarine – use olive oil instead
- Cheese – once a week only
- Red meat – only 3 servings a week but rather choose fish
- NO fried foods, pastries, sugar or sweets
The MIND diet postulates that the brain is susceptible to unhealthy foods and cells can be damaged by free radicals when oxidative stress occurs. Fresh fruits and vegetables have the opposite effect as they are antioxidants. Vitamin E and other antioxidants in fresh wholesome foods is good for the brain, protecting it from oxidative stress. Omega 3 fatty acids are also known to decrease inflammation in the brain which is associated with dementia. The MIND diet is a new idea and researchers are still gathering evidence. But studies are showing that people who stick to the MIND diet cut their risk of getting dementia by 35 % on average. There is a much slower decline in the function of the brain as people get older.
The best thing to do to avoid dementia is to remain fit and healthy, eat fresh wholesome foods in their natural state, get outdoors and see friends! Keep the MIND diet simple and you will also keep calm.
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