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Can Eating Healthy Prevent Alzheimer’s?

No one knows for sure how Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of age-related mental decline develop, but many doctors believe that diet plays a significant role. As rates of Alzheimer’s continue to grow, recent research …

No one knows for sure how Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of age-related mental decline develop, but many doctors believe that diet plays a significant role. As rates of Alzheimer’s continue to grow, recent research suggests that some of the diets that are best for our physical health may also help us avoid mental problems as we grow older.

For more on this exciting new research, including what to eat—and what not to eat—to preserve the health of your brain, read on.

The MIND Diet and Alzheimer’s

A study published in 2015 supports a belief held for some time now by both researchers and doctors—that what you eat has a significant impact on the health of your mind, including whether or not you develop Alzheimer’s as you get older.

In particular, researchers focused on the MIND diet, or Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. This brain-focused diet combines two diets popular for overall health: the Mediterranean diet, developed replicate the healthy lifestyles of people in Mediterranean cultures, and the DASH diet, which was originally designed to help people lower their blood pressure.

The most recent research suggests that following the MIND diet full-time can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by over 50%, while following it part-time will still reduce the risk by about 35%. The best part? The MIND diet is based on diets that provide many other benefits in addition to their effects on mental health.

What’s Good for You

The two diets that make up the MIND diet have several components in common. Together, a joint set of foods emerges, which contains several healthy eating standbys, along with a few surprising indulgences.

Generally speaking, the MIND diet suggests certain amounts of basic foods and food groups, rather than specific dishes or recipes. For those following the MIND diet, the focus should be on vegetables (especially the leafy green kind), fruits (especially berries), nuts, legumes, and whole grains. The MIND diet also allows for some wine—about a glass a day—as well as a couple servings per week of fish or poultry. Olive oil should be used in place of other fats.

What to Avoid

Although the MIND diet is not as strict as many other popular diets—and, as mentioned above, has proven benefits even for those who don’t follow it strictly—there are several ingredients and food groups that should be avoided. In fact, eliminating these foods seems to have benefits for both physical and mental health.

To begin with, avoid all red meats, as well as most dairy products, including butter and cheese. Again, olive oil should replace any animal fats, as well as vegetable oils and other fat sources. Refined sugar should be avoided entirely, including most sweets or pastries. Those following the MIND diet should also avoid most fried foods, processed foods, and fast food dishes.

For more information on how to improve the health and wellness of both your mind and body, give PMR a call today!

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