Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 5 million Americans over the age of 65.
Research is trying to prove that the foods we choose at a younger age may lower the risk of developing the disease. The MIND diet may be just the eating plan that makes all the difference. MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.
The DASH diet was developed originally to reduce blood pressure and the Mediterranean diet is a traditional way of eating by the people living in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The MIND diet is similar to these two other diets. What makes the MIND diet different is that it includes specific foods and nutrients that scientist have shown to be beneficial to brain function.
- 6 servings a week of green leafy vegetables
- 1 or more servings daily of other vegetables
- 5 servings a week of nuts
- 2 or more servings a week of berries
- 3 or more servings a week of beans
- 3 or more servings a day of whole grains
- 1 serving a week of fish
- 2 servings a week of poultry
- Olive oil in cooking
- 1 glass a day of wine
Just as important as what TO eat is what NOT to eat:
- Red meat – limit to less than 4 servings a week
- Butter and margarine – limit to less than 1 tablespoon a day
- Cheese – limit to less than 1 serving a week
- Pastries and sweets – limit to less than 5 servings a week
- Fried and fast foods – limit to less than 1 serving a week
Research is ongoing so whether or not the risk of Alzheimer’s disease can be significantly reduced by diet intervention remains to be proven. However because of the food choices recommended in the MIND diet, it’s still good for overall health, including cardiovascular health.
Written by Cara Zechello M.Ed., RD, LDN