A MINDful diet to curb Alzheimer’s

Did you know that India has the second highest number of individuals suffering from dementia? The mind addles but according to a report published by Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India, there are more than 4.1 million people suffering from dementia and these numbers are expected to increase two-fold by the year 2035.

While dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are commonly associated with old age, the onset can be detected rather early which can help slow down the process, but what can we do to decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s or even prevent it altogether? According to Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association,a specialized diet, called the MIND diet, has been proven to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 53% in participants who followed the diet consistently and 35% for those who followed it moderately.

The MIND diet is developed by Martha Clare Morris, PhD and her colleagues. It is an acronym for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay Diet. As the name suggests, this is a hybrid of the Mediterranean diet, which is extremely healthy for the heart, reducing the chances of heart diseases and stroke, and DASH diet, which helps in preventing and controlling hypertension. Some researchers have found that the combination provides protection against dementia as well. However, the MIND diet combines the goodness of the two diets but deviates from the Mediterranean and DASH diets by restricting the type and amount of fruits and vegetables to be consumed. The MIND diet specifies eating berries, but not other fruits as the other diets do. It is much easier to follow, therefore.

So, what is in the MIND diet? The MIND diet combines 15 brain healthy food and 10 brain-healthy food groups. These food groups have been associated with slower cognitive decline in clinical studies. These include,

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Other Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Berries- Specially blueberries. According to Martha Clare Morris, blue berries are one of the more potent foods in terms of protecting the brain and has been specifically included in the MIND diet.
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Olive Oil- which come under the category of healthy fat and should be used as a replacement of butter and other unhealthy fats
  • Wine

Apart from this, the MIND diet discourages the consumption of certain food groups which have been linked to the early onset of Alzheimer’s. These include,

  • Red meats
  • Butter and stick margarine
  • Cheese
  • Pastries and sweets
  • Fried and fast food

MIND diet has seen success and is encouraged to be followed, especially if you have a family history of Alzheimer’s. A healthy diet plays an important role in altering the outcomes of such diseases even after a stroke. Along with following a healthy diet, it is very important to watch out for the early signs of Alzheimer’s. One should not ignore memory disturbances. Ignoring symptoms can lead to a delay in diagnosis

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