Mind Diet : Brain Health
Feb29

Mind Diet : Brain Health

At the start of every new year, we are bombarded with “new” diets that are designed to be life changing. Want to lose weight, look younger, feel younger, or manage your health issues? You are sure to find at least one diet specifically created to eliminate whatever ails you. One diet that has been receiving big accolades is the MIND diet, which promotes brain health and decreases an individual’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. What is the MIND Diet?   The MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets; MIND is an acronym for Mediterranean-DASH diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. According to Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, the MIND diet lowered the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 53% for participants who followed the diet rigorously, although participants who only followed the diet moderately lowered their risk by about 35%.   As individual diets, the Mediterranean and DASH have been successful in reducing the risk of cardiovascular conditions like heart attack and stroke. Knowing the success of these two diets alone, it would make sense that they would be mind healthy diets as well, especially since there is a connection between heart and brain health. For example, memory loss can be an early warning sign of heart failure.   The MIND diet is composed of 10 “brain-healthy food groups”:   Leafy Green Vegetables, such as Spinach Other Vegetables, such as Carrots, Broccoli, Peppers Nuts, such as Walnuts Berries, particularly Blueberries Beans, such as Black beans or Chickpeas Whole Grains (Switch white rice for brown) Fish, such as Salmon Poultry (Not Fried) Olive Oil Red Wine, in moderation   The foods that pose a “threat” to your brain health include red meats, butter or margarine, cheese, pastries, sweets, and fried/fast food. While these foods should be avoided whenever possible, some experts say that less than one serving (of any 3 “threat” foods) per week may be safe for your brain and keep you on track with the MIND diet.   Not only does this diet allow brain healthy “dieters” to enjoy some of their favorite indulgences, like red wine, but it is also praised for being one of the easiest diets to follow and stick to, but doesn’t make people feel like they are sacrificing too much. Do More Than Eat Well   Although making a commitment to healthy eating can make a significant difference in your overall health, it’s important to find a fitness regimen that works well for you, whether it’s yoga or running. Additionally, adequate sleep and stress management are also key to maintaining...

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Habits for a Healthier Brain
May22

Habits for a Healthier Brain

As we age, it is human nature to wonder whether or not there is anything we can do to slow down the aging process. Many baby boomers are applying this question to enhance not only their physical appearance, but their cognitive function and brain health as well. We’ve all experienced moments of forgetfulness. Misplacing an important item, forgetting a name or getting our calendar date mixed up can lead us to wonder: is this part of getting old? Countless jokes are made at the expense of the old timer’s slow cognitive function and ability to remember yesterday. Are we doomed to live out the harsh truth at the center of these jokes or is there something that can be done about the aging brain? In a recent study carried out by Neurology Magazine, a group of researchers in China randomly selected 9 communities. Out of these communities 5,000 people that were over 55 years or older were interviewed concerning age, sex, occupation, medical conditions, medications, smoking, drinking, education and leisure activities. The group was tracked for 5 years and given the same tests each year. In the final analysis 11% had a drop in their cognitive abilities. Those 11% were far more likely to be women, have lower education, smoke and drink daily and have a medical condition. The study also demonstrated that playing board games and reading was associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline while watching television was associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment. This is in keeping with a recent AARP Bulletin, which expounds on a recent study carried out by some of the leading neuroscientists and brain health experts in the country. It states that in addition to the fact that Alzheimer’s disease and Cognitive aging are separate ailments, there are many things you can do to slow down cognitive aging such as: Exercise: Aerobic exercise provides your brain with much needed oxygen and helps slow the aging process. Intellectual and social activity: Such as reading, writing and social activity are all linked with preserving brain function Eating Healthy: Consuming less meat and alcohol and increasing your intake of vegetables, Omega 3 fatty acids (found in fish), and nuts and beans can help protect an aging brain. Getting Enough Rest: Poor sleep is linked to memory problems, Alzheimer’s and dementia. Avoid Alcohol, Chemicals and Drugs: Some medications have been linked with cognitive decline including benzodiazepines and anticholinergic drugs. It is important to point out that alcohol was associated with cognitive decline in both studies and should be kept to a minimum or avoided totally if possible. Overlooked sources of chemicals include fast...

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