Tags: Alzheimer's/Dementia | Alzheimers | disease | brain | MIND | Mediterranean | diet

5 Natural Ways to Stave Off Alzheimer's

5 Natural Ways to Stave Off Alzheimer's

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By    |   Wednesday, 07 December 2016 03:25 PM

Alzheimer’s disease is devastating, but you may reduce your risk of developing it by choosing certain foods that help promote brain health, a top expert says.

"The way you eat can make your brain younger and also significantly reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease," Maggie Moon tells Newsmax Health.

“Eating right means eating the right types of fats, like olive oil, along with foods that are rich in phytochemicals. These are chemicals, found often in fruits and vegetables, that the brain needs in abundance," says Moon, a registered dietitian and author of “The MIND Diet: A Scientific Approach to Enhancing Brain Function and Helping to Prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia.”

“We don’t know exactly why the MIND diet works, but we do know it is heart-healthy, perfect for people with diabetes, and it meets the nutritional needs for most people,” says Moon.

“It’s an overall healthy diet, but it shows the most promise in the area of brain health," she adds.

The MIND diet, which is formally known as the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay Diet, was developed by Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

It is the combination of two high-ranking diets: the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet.

The MIND diet was found to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 53 percent in participants who adhered to the diet rigorously, and by about 35 percent in those who followed it moderately well, according to a 2015 study published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

The results suggest that people who stuck to the DASH and Mediterranean diets also had reductions in AD — 39 percent with the DASH diet and 54 percent with the Mediterranean diet — the study found.

But what was significant about the MIND diet is that people who followed it showed cognitive improvements even when they didn’t even stick to it very strictly.

The MIND diet has 15 dietary components, including 10 “brain-healthy food groups” — green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil, and wine — and five unhealthy groups that comprise red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.

The MIND diet includes at least three servings of whole grains, a salad, and one other vegetable every day — along with a glass of wine. It also involves snacking most days on nuts and eating beans every other day or so, poultry and berries at least twice a week and fish at least once a week.

Moon likes the diet because it’s based on eating whole foods, as opposed to processed, and it also enables people to choose from a wide variety of items.

“People don’t eat single food to help their brain, people eat in patterns, and this diet helps them do that,” she says.

Here are Moon’s five top ways to use the MIND diet:

Choose salmon: Any type of fish is fine according to the MIND diet, but there is a concern about mercury in certain varieties. Mercury is a neurotoxin, so if you’re eating to protect your brain, fish that are high in it might not be the right choice. But salmon is a fish with a short life, so it is less likely to be high in mercury. “Anchovies and sardines are also good, and you can mash them and add them to sauce to add richness,” says Moon.

Try pomegranate juice: Although the MIND diet focuses on berries, because they were used in the study, pomegranate but a study at UCLA found that people who drank eight ounces of pomegranate juice for four weeks performed better on memory tests and functional MRI bran scans.

Snack on pistachio nuts: People love to snack, but they often snack on the wrong things. Even low-calorie foods, while good, may not help people feel full, notes Moon, adding, “If I snack on a handful of pistachios, I’m not hungry again for four-to-five hours, and unshelling them gives me something to do with my hands.”

Cook with olive oil. Olive oil is a healthy fat used in the MIND diet because it’s higher in the type of saturated fat that the brain prefers. For best taste, use extra virgin olive oil on foods you consume, but virgin is fine for cooking. Also, the freshest olive oil is best, so buy in small quantities, paying attention to the harvest date. “The freshest olive oil should have a slightly tingly taste, which comes from polyphenols,” she says, referring to a type of phytochemical.

Enjoy wine in moderation. Both white and red wine rich in polyphenols, so both are good, although the red has slightly more. But don’t go overboard. Have one glass with your dinner, but don’t go over that and watch the size of the glass. Says Moon, “A serving is five ounces, so don’t go overboard.”

 

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Alzheimer's is a devastating disease, but eating the right diet could boost your brain health and reduce your risk of developing dementia. A top an expert offers tips on the right foods to eat to stay mentally sharp as you age.
Alzheimers, disease, brain, MIND, Mediterranean, diet
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2016-25-07
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 03:25 PM
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