Another diet is all the rage, but losing weight isn't the goal this time- gaining years of cognitive health is. The MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, and stands for Mediterranean-Dash Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. Researchers recently followed over 900 women and men for nearly 5 years, studying their diets and their cognitive decline (or lack there of).
The findings? The researchers found that the DASH diet reduced Alzheimer's Disease (AD) by 39%, the MIND diet by 53% and the Mediterranean diet by 54%. Studies also showed a vast difference in results between participants who followed the diet strictly and moderately, with MIND participants who followed the diet moderately well having only a 35% reduction in AD.
So what's the big deal with the MIND diet? Well, first of all it does restrict some foods, but is generally a bit less restrictive and easier to follow than the Mediterranean Diet focusing on just 5 groups that should be limited. Those groups and restrictions are: cheese should be limited to once time per week as should fried foods, red meat are limited to four servings per week, and sweets to no more than 5 times per week (and yes, that little chocolate chip cookie counts!). Finally, butter is okay, but no more than 1 Tbs per day.
In addition, certain foods with specific nutrients and phytonutrients also slowed down cognitive decline. So what foods of you load up on? Here are some of the top runners. Pair them with a big salad covered in olive oil and you are on your way to being a savvy senior!
1. Leafy Greens
Daily Serving: 6
Servings: 1 C cooked, 2 C raw
2. Whole Grains
Daily Servings: 3
Serving: 1/2 cups of whole grains, cooked or 1 slice of whole grain bread.
Weekly Servings: 5
Serving: 1.5 oz of nuts or 2 Tbs of nut butter
Weekly Servings: 2
Serving: 1/2 cup.
Weekly Servings: at least 3
Serving: 1/2 C cooked
6. Olive Oil
No specific amount cited. Use for all cooking and dressing purposes.
Weekly serving: 3 or more
serving: 3 oz
Weekly serving: 1
Serving: 3 oz
9. (Optional) Wine/Alcohol- if you drink already.
Daily serving: 1 for women, 2 for men-- and no more!
Serving: 12 oz beer, 5 oz wine, or 1.5oz of 80 proof alcohol.
photos courtesy of pexels.com and Cooked.com