What you eat may lead you to the fountain of youth and you may be able to fight off Alzheimer’s Disease with food. Health officials said the “Mind Diet” can take seven-plus years off your brain.
Rush University Medical Center researcher Dr Martha Clare Morris said there are “several diet patterns that seem to be protective for the brain” but the “Mind Diet” stands out.
“When we followed people for a period of 10 years, we found those who scored high on the diet, those in the top-third scores, had a 53 percent reduction in the development for Alzheimer’s Disease,” she said.
Dr Morris found even those who weren’t as disciplined experienced a benefit.
“What was interesting with the ‘Mind Diet,’ people who scored even moderately on the ‘Mind Diet’ had a 35 percent significant reduction in the risk of dev ad
So, what should you eat? Registered dietician Vicki Shanta Retelny said it’s a plan similar to the heart-healthy Mediterranean and DASH diets but with a focus on some key foods known to keep the brain younger.
“The ‘Mind Diet’ can keep the brain seven and a half years younger,” Retelny said. “Berries have a great impact on brain health. Blueberries, strawberries, those with rich anthocyanins, that’s the pigment in the actual berry itself that’s the flavonoid, really does help the brain. So at least two servings a week of berries is highly beneficial for fending off cognitive decline.”
From berries to beans, high in fiber, low in fat, and no cholesterol.
“A half-cup serving of beans really did slow down cognitive decline and also helped decrease all cause-mortality, meaning death,” Retelny said.
When it comes to fish, the recommendation is two servings a week for optimal heart health. But in the brain, juts one serving a week resulted in a cognitive boost.
“Salmon, tuna, halibut, maceral, the fatty fish contain omega three fatty acids, which is that DHA which is the beneficial compound that gives fish its cognitive benefit,” Retelny said.
Folate is a key ingredient in brain health and leafy greens are packed with it.
“People that eat more leafy greens did show fewer rate of cognitive decline,” Retelny said. “These people scored much higher on the cognitive test when they ate leafy greens like arugula, kale, even cruciferous vegetables like broccoli because it helped fend off cognitive decline.”
Even wine plays a role. The key is color.
“Specifically red wine, which contains a compound called resveratrol, was highly rated. A five ounce glass of red wine showed neuroprotective benefit,” Retelny said.
But it’s not just what you eat and drink, it’s the combination. All of the “Mind Diet” foods are beneficial on their own but together they are even more powerful.
“In your leafy green salad add your beans, your peas, your lentils and toss in some berries,” Retelny said. “That’s going to help the synergy of nutrients as far as absorbing the iron better, absorbing the protein. It’s going to help overall your body take in those nutrients.”
There are multiple studies happening right now at Rush University Medical Center, where researchers are taking a very close look at diet and brain health, including the impact of weight and hypertension on brain function. And Wednesday, a new study showing how critical it is to aggressively lower blood pressure. By doing so, people can reduce cognitive impairment. Diet can help but medication may be necessary for a meaningful difference.