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MIND Diet Slows Mental Decline

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Thursday, 28 Apr 2016 03:23 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Just as limiting total calories has an impact on mind health, so do the types of foods we eat. Multiple studies confirm that antioxidant fruits and vegetables, healthy grains, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats from fish and nuts, lean proteins, and other aspects of a Mediterranean-style diet are not only heart-healthy but brain-healthy as well.

On the other hand, processed foods, refined sugars, and trans fats are unhealthy for the body and the brain.

Following these findings, Dr. Martha Clare Morris and her associates at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago created a new hybrid diet called the MIND diet — which is short for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).

This new diet combines elements of the Mediterranean diet with elements of the DASH diet, which has been shown to lower people’s risk for hypertension, heart attack, and stroke. Both the Mediterranean and the DASH diets have also been shown to provide protection against dementia.

Even moderate adherence to the MIND diet was associated with a lower risk for developing dementia.

In the study, the scientists determined the rates of cognitive decline for more than 900 volunteers who followed the MIND diet for approximately five years. Adherence to the diet led to significantly slower cognitive decline in several areas of mental function.

The difference between the volunteer groups with highest and lowest adherence to the diet was equivalent to 7.5 years younger in brain age. When they compared the MIND diet to the Mediterranean and DASH diets, they found that those who followed the MIND diet had a lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s.

Even moderate adherence to the MIND diet was associated with lower risk.

According to the researchers, the MIND diet is easier to follow than the other diets. For example, the Mediterranean diet requires daily consumption of fish, three servings of fruits, and other vegetables.

By contrast, the new diet involves daily choices from 10 healthy food groups (green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil, and wine) combined with minimal intake from five unhealthy food groups (red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food).

Of course, the amount of food you eat is important with any diet. The MIND diet recommends having at least three servings of whole grains, a salad, one other vegetable, and even a glass of wine every day.

Nuts are suggested as snacks, and beans are recommended every other day or so. Poultry and berries are suggested at least twice a week and fish at least once a week.

Moreover, the restrictions on the unhealthy foods are not absolute. Butter is limited to less than one tablespoon each day. Cheese and fried or fast food are limited to a single serving per week of each group. Berries, which are potent antioxidants, are the recommended fruit.
 

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Even moderate adherence to the MIND diet was associated with a lower risk for developing dementia.
Mediterranean diet, antioxidants, Alzheimers
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2016-23-28
Thursday, 28 Apr 2016 03:23 PM
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