MINDful Eating: How Your Diet Can Improve Brain Function

Oct 19th, 2018

Food and health go hand in hand.

 

That applies not just to your body, but to your brain, too. In fact, research has found there’s a specific diet – the MIND Diet – that can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's Disease.

 

In one study, people who followed the MIND Diet for 4.5 years had a 53 percent reduced risk of Alzheimer’s. The diet has also shown to slow the cognitive decline among aging adults who are not at risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

 

 

We featured the MIND Diet in September’s Day Brightoner newsletter. Here’s how it works:

 

The MIND Diet is actually a hybrid of two other diets, Mediterranean and DASH, known for lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and heart attacks.

 

Like the two diets it is drawn from, MIND emphasizes plant-based foods and minimal consumption of animal-based foods. More specifically, it encourages these 10 brain-healthy foods:

 

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Other vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Berries
  • Whole grains
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Olive oil
  • Wine

 

The MIND diet also specifies foods you should try to eat less of:

 

  • Red meats
  • Butter and stick margarine
  • Cheese
  • Pastries and sweets
  • Fried or fast food

 

While no food is technically “off-limits,” following the diet’s guidelines ensures you’re eating foods with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties – which researchers say correlates with healthy brain function.

 

The diet does list specific portions and frequencies for each food listed. But even if you can’t stick to the target all the time, you should still keep with it. That’s because following the diet even just a little has shown a positive effect on brain function.

 

“The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” -Ann Wigmore

 

Try easing into the diet by adding just a few “brain foods” to your dining routine. Keep track of any improvements to your mood and memory as you go!