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How To Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease With Food?

Everyone knows that what we eat may affect the health of our heart. Now there’s evidence that the same is true for our brain.

The MIND diet which combines many elements of 2 other popular nutrition plans which have been proven to benefit heart health: The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean diet and (MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay). But the MIND diet proved to be more effective than either of them at reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.

This diet can minimize the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 53%.Even those who followed the diet moderately well and didn’t stick to it perfectly reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s by about a third.

It’s important to notice that the diet is just one of many factors that may induce the disease. Genetics and other factors like exercise, smoking and education also play a role. But the MIND diet helped slow the rate of cognitive decline and protect against Alzheimer’s disease regardless of other risk factors.

The MIND diet recommends 10 “brain healthy food groups” a person should eat and five “unhealthy food groups” to avoid.

Foods recommended for optimal brain health are:
1.Green leafy vegetables
Spinach, kale, collards, broccoli, and other greens are packed with vitamins A and C and many other nutrients. At least two servings a week can help. Researchers found six or more servings a week allow the greatest brain benefits.

2.Other vegetables
Eating salads and at least one other vegetable every day can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

3.Nuts
Nuts are a good snack for brain health. They contain healthy fats, antioxidants and fiber. They can help lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Eating nuts at least five times a week is recommended by the MIND diet.

4.Berries
Blueberries are one of the most potent foods in terms of protecting the brain, followed by the strawberries.Eating berries at least twice a week is recommended.

5.Beans
Beans should be a regular part of your diet. High in protein and fiber, and low in fat and calories. Eating beans three times can help keep your mind sharp.

6.Whole grains
Three servings a day of whole grains is recommended, which are the key component of the MIND diet.

7.Fish
Eating fish at least once a week helps protect brain function, unlike the Mediterranean diet, which recommends eating fish almost every day.

8.Poultry
The recommendations of poultry are two or more servings a week.

9.Olive oil
People who use it as their primary oil at home see greater protection against cognitive decline.

10.Wine
One glass of wine every day is recommended but do not exceed it.

Now here are the five food groups you should avoid to reduce your risk of developing dementia.
1.Red meat
Even though red meat isn’t banned in the MIND diet, you should limit consumption to no more than four servings a week to help protect brain health.

2.Butter and stick margarine
Butter and stick margarine should be reduced to less than one tablespoon per day. Instead, olive oil can often be used.

3.Cheese
Reduce your cheese consumption to once per week if you want to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s.

4.Pastries and sweets
Limit yourself to no more than five of pastries and sweets per week, since they’re not good for your waistline or for the brain health.

5.Fried foods and fast food
For optimal brain health, limit your consumption of fried food to no more than once a week.

People who eat this diet consistently over the years get the best protection; you’ll be healthier if you’ve been doing the right thing for a long time.

Christelle Bedrossian
Dietitian-Nutritionist
Beirut, Lebanon

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Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian