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The MIND Diet: Discover what foods to eat to fight Alzheimer’s and what foods you should avoid

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According to doctors and medical practitioners, your way of eating can affect your heart’s health. Currently, there are a lot of studies that indicate that your food choices also affects your brain health.

Research by specialists at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found the optimal way to eat for brain health and created a diet plan they suitably called the MIND diet.

Researchers claim the diet may diminish the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 53 percent.

Even individuals who didn’t adhere to the diet strictly did “moderately well.” Results showed they decreased their risk of Alzheimer’s by about one-third.

Diet has all the traits necessary for being one of the “many factors that play into who gets the disease,” according to nutritional epidemiologist Dr. Martha Clare Morris, PhD, the lead creator of the MIND diet.

Hereditary qualities or family history and other influences like an individual’s lifestyle, exercise, smoking, and even education also has an effect. The good thing is, the MIND diet moderated the speed of cognitive decline and aided in protecting the brain against Alzheimer’s despite the presence of other hazards.

The research study published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia had 900 participants ranging in age from 58 to 98. These individuals answered questions about their diet and underwent repeated neurological tests.

The research found that the individuals whose diet was nearly identical to the MIND diet had the same cognitive function as someone 7.5 years younger.

The MIND diet breaks down it’s suggested “brain healthy foods” into 10 groups from which an individual should eat. And it also brokedown “unhealthy foods” into 5 groups which a person should avoid.

The MIND diet consists of components of two other prominent diets which have demonstrated an increase heart health: The first is the Mediterranean diet and the second is the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. The MIND diet is an acronym which stands for – Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.

But the MIND diet does vary from the Mediterranean and DASH diets in a couple of ways which has proven to make it more powerful at decreasing the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Here are the list of foods to eat to combat Alzheimer’s and what you should avoid for an excellent brain health and function.

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10 Healthy Brain Foods

1. Green Leafy Vegetables
The MIND diet suggests regular consumption of green leafy vegetables like spinach, collards, kale, broccoli and other kinds of greens that are loaded with vitamin C, vitamin A and many other nutrients. A regular serving twice every week is helpful and a serving of at least six or more every week gives the optimum brain health benefit.

The Mediterranean diet and DASH diet on the other hand does not particularly suggest consumption of these vegetables in high amounts but researchers of the MIND diet found that consumption of these green leafy vegetables made an impact in lessening the dangers of Alzheimer’s.

2. More vegetables

The MIND diet teaches the significance of vegetables for brain health. It suggests consuming a salad and other vegetables beyond just the green leafy kind every day to reduce of Alzheimer’s disease risk.

3. Nuts

MIND diet research concluded that nuts are not only a great snack but they also benefit the brain. Nuts are loaded with fiber, antioxidants and highly nutritious healthy fats that are good for the brain. Studies conducted also showed that nuts help in lowering bad cholesterols and reduce the risks of heart problems. The MIND diet recommends eating nuts at least five times a week.

4. Berries

The MIND diet suggests the consumption of berries. Dr. Morris said, “Blueberries are one of the more potent foods in terms of protecting the brain.” She also stated that strawberries have shown benefits for the brain in previous studies conducted when they studied their effect on cognitive function. The MIND diet suggests eating berries no less than two times per week.

5. Beans

If you haven’t included beans as a part of your diet you should! Beans are a great source of protein and fiber. They actually have small amounts of fat are low in calories. Beans benefit your brain by keeping it sharp and alert. The MIND diet suggests eating beans three-times-a-week to help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

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6. Whole Grains

Whole grains are a key part of the MIND diet. Researchers suggests consuming at least three servings every day.

7. Fish

MIND diet researchers discovered that eating fish once-a-week helps protect brain function, but they were careful not to recommend you eat fish every day. In contrast to the Mediterranean diet which requires consumption of fish daily, with the MIND diet, once-a-week is sufficient for brain health.

8. Poultry

Eating poultry is also recommended by the MIND diet to achieve optimal brain health. One or two servings a week is sufficient to increase brain health.

9. Olive Oil

Olive oil beats out other types of cooking oils and fats in terms of the MIND diet. Researchers discovered that people who uses olive oil to cook at home have more robust protection against brain health decline.

10. Wine

Cheers to wine lovers because the MIND diet recommends drinking at least one glass of wine every day.

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5 Unhealthy Brain Foods that you should avoid

1. Red Meat

In the Mediterranean diet, red meat is restricted and should be totally avoided. But, with the MIND diet, red meat is not totally out of diet, researchers suggest limiting it to no more than 4 servings a week to increase brain health.

2. Butter and Margarine (stick)

Butter and margarine should be restricted to no more than a tablespoon each day. Researchers of the MIND diet suggest using olive oil instead.

3. Cheese

Cheese might be tasty however it doesn’t help your brain, as indicated by MIND diet research. Eat cheese no more than once a week to decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s.

4. Sweets and pastries

Sweets and pastries are definitely not good for your waistline, and researchers suspect baked goods and other desserts could negatively affect your brain health too. The MIND diet suggests limiting yourself to no more than five servings a week.

5. Fast foods and fried foods

Eating fast foods and fried foods are not good for your brain at all. The MIND diet recommends avoiding them at all costs but when you can’t limit yourself to no more than once a week for optimum brain health.

In conclusion even if you cheat and stray from the MIND diet, researchers say that it could still have a positive effect on your brain. So don’t beat yourself up about it, remember you’re still decreasing your risk of getting Alzheimer’s. But know that the longer you’re able to stick to the MIND diet longer, the bigger your brain health benefits will be in the long run.

“People who eat this diet consistently over the years get the best protection,” according to the lead author and researcher, Dr. Morris. She added, “You’ll be healthier if you’ve been doing the right thing for a long time.”

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