A: It’s a brand new year, a chance for new beginnings. For many, it’s a time for a renewed focus on health. This year, why not commit to a brain healthy diet that is good for your body as well? New research funded by the National Institute on Aging has shown that the MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) can help fend off Alzheimer’s Disease while also promoting heart health, protecting against Type-2 diabetes and cancer -- and controlling weight. Results of the research revealed that strict adherence to the MIND diet lowered the risk of Alzheimer’s by more than 50%, and by about 35% for those who followed it moderately.
Alzheimer’s Disease is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. It is estimated that more than five million Americans suffer from this permanent and progressive disease which is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. While there is currently no known cure, those habits associated with good health in aging are the same ones that can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s: a healthy and balanced diet, daily exercise and engaging in social and mentally stimulating activities.
Brain-healthy foods are at the heart of the MIND diet, which is a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. These foods include green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine. General guidelines include daily consumption of at least three servings of whole grains, a salad and one other vegetable and a glass of wine. Nuts are used as a snack on most days and beans every other day. Poultry and berries are recommended at least twice a week and fish at least once a week. Unhealthy foods, such as red meat, pastries and sweets should be limited; other limitations include butter (less than 1 tablespoon a day), cheese and fried or fast food (less than a serving a week for any of the three). Note that berries – namely, blueberries and to a lesser extent, strawberries –is the only fruit recommended.
Following the MIND diet consistently throughout the years provides the best protection against Alzheimer’s Disease and has the added bonus of being an overall beneficial diet for the body and the waistline as well. It’s a win-win diet that embraces a variety of foods, so long-term compliance is relatively easy. Make brain health your number one New Year’s resolution. Get started today to build a healthy brain and body for tomorrow!
Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
68 Hauppauge Rd, Commack, NY 11725