10 Healthy and 5 Unhealthy Foods for the Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease
Posted by Sherry C. on Monday, March 20th, 2017
There are some interesting new diets surfacing lately that are making the claim to fame when it comes to prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s been said many times by nutritional experts, “what’s good for the heart is good for the brain.” This may be the case with a new diet called the MIND diet.
What is the Mind Diet?
The MIND diet is a hybrid diet combining foods from the Mediterranean and DASH diets for an eating guide that will promote heart health. MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, and DASH stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
The Mind Diet and Alzhiemer’s Disease Prevention
Recently the MIND diet was found in clinical studies to promote brain health. The study, performed at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, revealed that the MIND diet may reduce risks of Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 53%.
The MIND diet is thought to be a simpler version of the Mediterranean diet because it is comprised of a list of “10 brain healthy food groups” and 5 “unhealthy food groups” to limit or avoid. Read on to view the list of these healthy and unhealthy foods that comprise the MIND diet.
10 Brain Health Foods
A person on the MIND diet is encouraged to eat at least three servings of whole grains, a salad and one other vegetable every day — along with a glass of wine. Nuts are encouraged as snacks and beans should be eaten every other day or so. Poultry and berries are recommended at least twice a week and fish at least once a week.
1. Green Leafy vegetables-a salad made of leafy greens is recommended daily to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Leafy greens include, spinach, collard/mustard greens and kale.
2. Other vegetables-cruciferous vegetables such as Broccoli, cauliflower, Bok Choy and Brussels sprouts are high in carotenoids that lower an amino acid called homo-cysteine (which is linked with cognitive impairment). Eating the skin will raise the fiber level as well as increase the antioxidant intake of many fruits and vegetables. Numerous studies have shown that fruits and vegetables (particularly the bright colored variations) are chocked full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for Alzheimer’s prevention. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and contain antioxidants and lots of vitamin C and E. Pumpkin, squash, asparagus, tomatoes, carrots and beets are high in vitamin A, iron and folate which is thought to help improve cognition. It’s important not to overcook vegetables to maintain the optimal level of nutrients.
3. Berries and Cherries-are given a category of their own due to the high brain protecting characteristics of berries, particularly blueberries and strawberries. Berries are recommended at least twice per week on the MIND diet. Berries are loaded with anthocyanin which protects the brain from damage caused by free radicals.
4. Whole grains-3 servings of whole grains are recommended daily as part of the MIND diet. Good sources of whole grains include, quinoa, brown rice, steel cut oats and barley (no bread or cereal).
5. Fish-is loaded with brain healthy Omega 3 fatty acids, but unlike the Mediterranean diet that encourages eating fish daily, the MIND diet suggests fish consumption at least once a week as part of a healthy Alzheimer’s diet.
6. Nuts-the MIND diet advises eating a small handful of nuts 5 times per week. Nuts are great snacks, they are high in fiber, antioxidants and healthy fats. Studies have found that nuts lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart attack. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts and pecans contain omega-3s and omega-6s, vitamin E, folate, vitamin B6 and magnesium. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds contain zinc and vitamin E.
7. Beans-are very high in fiber and low on the glycemic index. Beans offer protein without adding a lot of calories or fat to the diet. Beans should be eaten at least 3 times per week as part of the MIND diet.
8. Poultry-the MIND diet suggests eating 2 or more servings of lean chicken or turkey each week for a great protein source with low saturated fats.
9. Olive oil- those who use olive oil as a primary source of oil were identified by researchers as having the highest level of protection against cognitive decline. Olive oil is best when eaten raw (as a salad dressing or drizzled over foods in place of butter). When cooking with olive oil, keep the heat level low. High heat denatures olive oil, rendering it an unhealthy fat.
10. Wine- is recommended only once a day for the MIND diet. Wine promotes relaxation and stress reduction, red wine contains resveratrol (an antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes) which may help lower risks of Alzheimer’s disease.
5 Foods Not Recommended on the MIND Diet
1. Red meat-as opposed to the Mediterranean diet that restricts red meat to 1 serving per week, the MIND diet recommends limiting the intake of red meat to under 4 servings per week. Optimally, red meat consumption should be from low saturated fat, grass fed livestock sources (or wild meat such as deer and elk) to lower intake of saturated fats.
2. Butter and stick margarine -limit to under a tablespoon per day on the MIND diet. Brain healthy oil such as olive oil is recommended to substitute for butter.
3. Cheese-keep cheese consumption under once per week and select a low-fat cheese to help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Pastries and other sweets- simple sugar (such as from pastries and white table sugar) is known to have an adverse effect on brain health. Limit these treats to under 5 per week as part of the MIND diet.
5. Fried foods and fast food-should be consumed no more than once a week on the MIND diet for optimal brain health.
Learn more about the Alzheimer’s diet by CLICKING HERE for information on The Alzheimer’s Prevention & Treatment Diet book written by Dr. Richard Isaacson, M.D., Harvard trained neurologist.
For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit theadplan.com to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.