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Do you find yourself forgetting a word or your keys? Don’t fret, some memory lapses are signs of normal aging. But, to help you remember better, we have new research available that has found a way to sharpen brain health. Did you know you can eat delicious food and nourish your brain? This week, we highlight the latest research on the MIND Diet.

The MIND diet, is hailed as the best of two popular diets you’ve likely heard of if you listen to this podcast. The top two diets highlighted in 2024 by US News and World Report, are the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. If you recall, we went into detail about the DASH diet last month. These two well researched eating plans have been combined into the MIND diet which stands for “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.” It incorporates many powerful foods from these eating plans into daily meals that could significantly lower one's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

The MIND diet, developed by RUSH University in Chicago, IL, and led by Dr. Martha Clare Morris, ScD, and her colleagues, is backed by extensive research. Dr. Morris, an epidemiologist, has studied the link between diet and Alzheimer's disease. The research results, as Dr. Morris herself has indicated, show that the MIND diet can lower the risk of Alzheimer's and Dementia by as much as 53% when followed closely and 35% for a moderate approach.

The MIND diet is rich in vitamins, carotenoids, and flavonoids; these are substances that have been found to be protectors of brain health. They aid in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in brain tissue. Researchers believe that it’s the effects of these protective substances in our foods that help to lower our risk.

This diet is easy to follow and budget friendly. It doesn’t require specialty foods and can easily incorporate frozen foods like frozen vegetables and berries. Note, the MIND diet is not designed for weight loss. It helps you create healthy eating habits for life. The MIND diet is nutritionally sound, filling, rich in fiber for gut health, and diverse in flavors.

The MIND diet includes the following ten brain-healthy food groups:

· Green leafy vegetables

· Other vegetables including starchy and non-starchy varieties

· Nuts

· Berries

· Beans

· Whole grains

· Fish

· Poultry

· Olive oil

· Wine

It also identifies five food groups to reduce in your diet or eat in small amounts which include:

· Red meats

· Butter & stick margarines

· Cheese

· Pastries and sweets

· Fried and fast foods

For best results, the study found success when eating less than a tablespoon a day of butter or margarine and less than a serving a week of cheeses and fried, fast foods. This is where the research team saw the real benefits of the diet.

What does a typical day of food include?

· For breakfast, try plain green yogurt with fresh fruit and granola.

· At lunch, enjoy a grilled chicken salad with dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach or arugula topped with assorted veggies and an oil-based dressing.

· At dinner, create a burrito bowl with black beans, brown rice, sauteed veggies, and topped with salsa and guacamole.

· An evening snack might look like an apple and nut butter or some peanuts and popcorn.

You can learn more about the MIND diet online by searching for, MINDdiet.edu or looking for cookbooks at your local library. This week, try to eat more of these brain-healthy foods, see how you feel, and let other’s know “what you think”.

For links to the resources mentioned today and a recording of today’s episode, visit, wvik.org/wellness.

Thank you for listening! I hope you have a happy and healthy day ahead. Content for this episode was provided by Susan Glassman, nutrition and wellness educator with University of Illinois Extension.

You can subscribe to Wellness Wake-up Call today wherever you listen to podcasts and never miss out on these weekly wellness tips.

Related resources:

1.      https://www.rush.edu/news/new-mind-diet-may-significantly-protect-against-alzheimers-disease

2.      https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/best-diets-overall

3.      https://extension.purdue.edu/news/county/putnam/2023/06/improve-your-brain-and-body-health-the-mind-diet.html

 

 

Kristin Bogdonas believes that everyone deserves access to fresh, affordable food and is committed to helping people improve their health literacy. In this digital age it can be difficult to decipher what nutrition information is accurate and what is hype. Connecting people with factual information and evidenced-based programs will help people build the skills and attain the knowledge necessary for positive behavior change. Although nutrition is important for a long and healthy life, one should not overlook the other dimensions of health required for overall wellbeing; physical, mental, emotional, vocational, spiritual, environmental and social. Each dimension impacting the next.
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