As we learn more and more about how certain foods affect our health, we have come to understand that eating well keeps us healthy as we age. As more Americans choose unhealthy diets, obesity rates continue to increase and the quality of health decreases. So, what can we do? The MIND diet can help improve your brain health and prevent Alzheimer’s disease. All you have to do is start eating whole, natural foods.
What is the MIND diet?
The MIND diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH diets. DASH, which refers to dietary approaches to stop hypertension, consists of eating foods that help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. All three diets emphasize the importance of eating quality foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish. Researchers believe that eating olive oil and nuts can also improve cognitive skills in seniors.
While the Mediterranean diet minimizes dairy, egg and red meat intake, the DASH diet emphasizes eating low-sodium and low-fat foods. The MIND diet takes foods from both of these diets that have been proven to benefit brain health in clinical studies. By eating more whole foods, you reduce the inflammation in your body that leads to chronic diseases.
What foods are in the MIND diet?
Green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli are the foundation for the MIND diet. Other important foods in the MIND diet include:
- Almost any vegetable that you can think of
- Nuts such as almonds, walnuts and cashews
- Blueberries and strawberries
- Whole grains
- Olive oil
The MIND diet doesn’t ban red meat, wine, cheese and butter. It prefers if you limit your intake per week; healthy moderation is key with this diet. Along with the diet, you should also exercise regularly and manage your stress. Having an active social life and stimulating your brain with puzzles can also help to prevent Alzheimer’s.
Though the MIND diet can help, it does not work alone. You should do what you can to get out and exercise. Diet and exercise will not only improve your health but also help you to sleep better at night, which can also fend off Alzheimer’s and slow further deterioration if you have already developed cognitive problems.