What if you could reduce your chance of getting Alzheimer's disease by over 50%? What if you could do it without taking any medications or supplements? What if you didn't have to pay one extra penny? Would you sign-up for it?
So what's the secret? There's actually no secret. And before you say you've heard this before, this diet doesn't require any fruits from the Amazon, nuts from Africa, salts from the Himalayas, herbs from the Alps or algae from the Sea of Japan. It doesn't require you to eat like a caveman, juice like a fruit fly, drink water like a fish or fast like it's the Day of Atonement. Every ingredient is available at your local grocery store.
Before you think this is just another crackpot salesman selling snake oil, we'll just say this. The results are based on clinical studies, performed by some of the country's leading scientists in neurology, clinical dietetics, internal medicine, Alzheimer's and behavioral sciences from Harvard and Rush University.
What did the study show? After 923 patients were followed for 4.5 years by researchers, they found a 53% lower risk of getting Alzheimer's disease after patient's followed their program. Put another way, they found it reduced the age of their patients' brains by 7.5 years!!!!
THE SECRET OF THE MIND DIET
The diet, if you haven't heard of it already, is called the MIND diet, and acronym for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. The MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean diet (proven to improve cardiovascular and heart health) and the DASH diet (proven to lower hypertension). The MIND diet itself is focused on delaying brain degeneration. It's not a weight loss diet, but it will have some of the cardiovascular and blood pressure benefits of the Mediterranean and DASH diets.
So what does the MIND diet recommend? Here it is in all its simplicity:
- Leafy green vegetables, 6 servings/week or more
- Vegetables, 1 serving/day or more
- Berries, 2 servings/week or more
- Whole grains, 3 servings/day or more
- Fish, 1 serving/week
- Poultry, 2 servings/week
- Beans, 3 servings/week
- Nuts, 5 servings/week
- Olive oil
The MIND diet suggests limiting servings of red meat (beef, pork or lamb), processed meats (salami, pepperoni, pastrami, hot dogs, etc...) sweets, cheese, butter/margarine, fast food, or fried food (deep fried chicken wings, french fries, etc...).
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE MIND DIET AND THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET?
While the MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, there are some key differences.
First, while the Mediterranean diet suggests you can eat any vegetable for heart health, the MIND diet suggests that to get the full cognitive benefit of the diet, you need to eat a lot of a specific type of vegetable - leafy greens. Specifically, spinach, cabbage, romaine lettuce, kale all make for brain health vegetables.
Second, while the Mediterranean diet suggest eating lots of fruit for cardiovascular health, the MIND diet specifically calls for eating berries to reduce the chances of Alzheimer's. Berries include the likes of blueberries, strawberries and raspberries.
The other nice thing about the mind diet is that, even if you had a few faults in any given week, the diets protective effect on preventive Alzheimer's disease still worked well. In other words, a slice of pizza is not gonna kill ya, nor is a rib steak here and there.
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH THE MIND DIET
It really doesn't take much to get started on the MIND diet. Eat more vegetables, fruits, fish, beans, whole grains and olive oil. Focus especially on leafy greens (use olive oil on your leafy greens) and berries. Limit red meat, processed meats, fast food and deep fried food.
Having a cheat day once or twice a week seems to be fine for the MIND diet - although it's not that great to get the cardiovascular benefits or low blood pressure benefits of the Mediterranean or DASH diets.