From Rodale News
Take brain food to the next level. A new pattern of eating, appropriately named the MIND diet, is associated with a 53-percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to research published by The Alzheimer’s Association. Better yet, even moderate adherence to this diet may reduce your risk by more than a third.
MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay and it is a blend of the Mediterranean and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diets.
Individually, the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diets both reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease (39 percent and 53 percent, respectively), but only with strict adherence. But blending the two shows that even moderate success in following the diet rules can be beneficial, providing a 35-percent risk reduction. Individuals who adhered to this diet the best (in the top third of MIND scores) saw cognitive declines 7.5 times slower than those who didn’t follow this diet pattern.
The MIND diet is broken up into 15 components: 10 foods to focus on and 5 foods to avoid.
10 Foods to Eat on the MIND Diet
Leafy Greens. Leafy greens have all kinds of health benefits ranging from pain management to stronger eyesight. And there are way more varieties than just kale. Check out these 7 leafy greens to add to your diet.
Other Vegetables. Leafy greens do get the spotlight a lot, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the rest of the produce section. From cauliflower that can improve your liver to artichokes that can heal your gut, veggies pack a nutritional punch with all kinds of benefits. In fact, simply eating more servings of vegetables has been associated with higher mental well-being.
Just be sure to go organic, as pesticides may fuel Alzheimer’s disease.
Nuts. High in healthy, filling fats, nuts have all kinds of benefits, from weight loss to cancer prevention. They’re especially great if you’re looking for a quick, pop-able snack.
Beans. Beans are a fiber-filled source of protein, meaning they’re great for keeping you full. Add to that these five more reasons to eat more beans.
Whole Grains. Whole grains are a great source of fiber, which has tons of health benefits, ranging from lowering blood pressure to improving insulin sensitivity. Just be aware that not everyone tolerates whole grains well, so keep an eye out forsymptoms that they could be adversely affecting your body.
Fish. Fish has all kinds of benefits, from protecting eyesight to preventingprostate cancer, but we’d like to add a big asterisk to this entry: Not all fish is created equal. In addition to knowing which fish you should and shouldn’t eat, be sure to follow these three rules to make sure you’re not undoing your other efforts toward health.
Poultry. Chicken is another tricky ‘health’ food. Yes, chicken is source of lean protein, but factory-farmed chicken could be full of antibiotics and other drugs, not to mention the fact that the birds are often kept in inhumane conditions. The best place to buy your chicken is through a local, organic farmer who can tell you what practices the farm uses.
Wine. As if you needed a reason to indulge in a glass of wine…The researchers categorized wine as part of this healthy diet. Wine—particularly red wine—is high in healthy antioxidants. Just be sure you’re not over-doing it, or you’ll cancel out all of the benefits.
5 Foods to Avoid on the MIND Diet
Red Meats. The biggest issue with red meat is that it’s often highly processed or comes factory farmed and has been linked to an increased mortality risk. To play it safe, buy grass-fed beef.
Butter and Stick Margarine. There are good fats, and then there are bad fats, which are usually highly processed. The researchers found that butter falls on the dark side, probably because Americans tend to go overboard with the stuff. They recommend keeping butter to less than a tablespoon per day.
Or, keep above the fray and stick with ghee, or clarified butter. Ghee has a higher concentration of heart-healthy linoleic acid.
Cheese. Cheese can be troublesome for a few reasons. First, Americans love smothering everything in mountains of cheese—cheeseburgers, cheesy casseroles, even cheese fries. The sheer quantity of greasy, low-quality cheese is what’s problematic. Second, cheese made from cow’s milk has lactose, which can also be harmful to those with lactose intolerance. If you can’t imagine a cheese-less existence, consider making the switch to goat milk or cheeses.
Pastries and Sweets. Sugar is toxic: Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and food cravings are just the tip of the iceberg. And while the researchers categorized sugar mainly in terms of dessert, we’d also warn against the sneaky sugars hiding out in seemingly healthy foods.
Fried or Fast Food. Fast food portions are two huge, its often drenched in trans fats (or other inflammatory fats), and many franchises choose cheaper factory-farmed meat—the evidence is endless for why fast food ends up on the “don’t” list.
How Do the Three Diets Stack Up?
By JULIA WESTBROOK for rodalenews.com