Our brains change as we age. Factors that can influence this include: genetics, neuro transmitters (brain chemicals), hormones and life experiences. Developing Alzheimer’s generally depends on age and family heritage. Unfortunately, there isn’t a definitive, scientific way to reduce the risk or prevent it altogether. Nevertheless, dietary changes can possibly be beneficial.
What is the ‘MIND’ Diet?
Everyone knows that having a healthy lifestyle is the cornerstone of living well. What if that extended to our brains? Research shows that the MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) could possibly reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Creator Dr Morris found that 53% of her 1,000 elderly test subjects had a decrease following rigorous observation. MIND itself takes inspiration from both the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. The latter owes progress to antioxidant rich foods as well as reduction of inflammation. The former demonstrates that the lowering of blood pressure may be a defensive factor for Alzheimer’s.
MIND takes aspects from both diets in order to get the most benefits to help reduce Alzheimer’s development. There isn’t really an emphasis on dairy nor is there a total limit of fat. Generally, the diet just outlines the foods that contain the most beneficial micro-nutrients. For example: there is a key emphasis on consuming leafy, green vegetables. They are packed with nutrients such as vitamin E, folate and flavonoids which work to keep the brain healthy.
Something to Be Aware Of
Despite all the potential progress and benefits to the MIND diet, Dr Morris has outlined that it isn’t a cure. There are many things that contribute to development of the disease. To have Alzheimer’s is based on behavioural, environmental and genetic components. The diet itself can be extremely good for overall health and the prevention of other health problems such as: heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Sadly, there is no absolute cure for Alzheimer’s and other dementia related diseases. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we shouldn’t try preventative measures or at least try and improve the life of sufferers. There are benefits to the MIND diet and it should be used as the motivation for a healthy and active lifestyle. This also includes self-care – finding meaning in work and hobbies whilst keeping a close network of family and friends. Trying to prevent Alzheimer’s through diet can be done but overall good health should be practiced regardless.