MIND Diet May Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

The “MIND” diet for Alzheimer’s prevention offers new insight into the disease management.

Did you know that the foods you eat may have an impact on your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease?

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ― Hippocrates

Evidence found in a study published in the journal “Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association” showed that individuals who consume what is known as the MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) could substantially reduce their risk of having Alzheimer’s Disease in the future – and you do not even need to strictly follow the diet to reap its benefits.

In this one particular study from Rush University published in 2015, it was found that participants who rigorously adhered to the MIND diet had a 53 percent lessened risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Those who followed it “moderately well” reduced their risk by 35 percent.

Another study  involving over 7,000 women for a period of 10 years measured the effectiveness of the MIND diet. Participants who closely followed the diet guidelines were 34 percent less likely to develop the disease than women who did not. Women who moderately adhered to the guidelines were 21 to 24 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

What is the MIND diet for Alzheimer’s Prevention?

The MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean diet and what is known as the DASH diet. Unlike the two diets, however, the MIND approach focuses specifically on foods and nutrients which have been medically proven to be good for the brain.

The diet focuses on the following foods:

  • Berries (2+ servings per week with blueberries and strawberries being preferred)
  • Leafy green vegetables (6+ servings a week)
  • Other vegetables (a minimum of once per day, though some dietitians recommend 4 servings per day)
  • Nuts (5 servings per week)
  • Beans and legumes (3+ servings a week)
  • Fish (minimum of once per week)
  • Whole grains (3+ servings per day). The jury appears to be moving on grains as they are observed to trigger inflammation which appears to be associated with many chronic disease.
  • Poultry (2 servings per week)
  • Olive oil (to be used as primary cooking oil)

The diet also allows for one daily glass of wine and recommends that you continue to drink several glasses of water each day.

The MIND Diet for Alzheimer’s Prevention- Exclusions

The diet also includes a list of foods which should be eliminated or avoided. These foods include:

  • Red meats (4 or fewer servings per week) Think a deck of cards size,  choose grass fed and clean meat ( no hormones or other additives)
  • Cheese (1 or fewer servings per week). The goal is  to reduce your dairy exposure
  • Margarine and butter (less than 15ml daily). Replace it with olive oil
  • Sweets and pastries or foods with refined sugars (as few as possible per week)
  • Fast/fried foods (1 or fewer servings per week)

Tips for sticking to a new MIND diet

The new year is right around the corner, making now a great time to try this new diet which may not only reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but which is also good for your heart and your overall health. But even with health goals in mind, it can be hard to stick to a new diet, so we have provided a quick list of 3 tips to help you on your way:

1.      Don’t be afraid to treat yourself

The MIND diet allows for a bit of indulgence (wine etc.). Rather than deprive yourself, treat yourself a few times a week while paying close attention to your portion sizes. Remember the less refined sugars the better. As the work of Dr Mark Hyman, Dr Gundry and most recently Dr Bredesen suggests complete removal of refined sugars is likely to assist with cognitive  reversal and prevention

2.      Eat breakfast every day

You have heard it before and it continues to be true: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Not only does it give us the energy we need to be productive, but enjoying a good, hearty breakfast will quell hunger and cravings for a large portion of the day. Consider a breakfast which has a low glycaemic value and reduced grain exposures.

3.      Choose healthy foods first

Begin each meal by eating the healthiest foods first. This will help keep you full so that you will not overindulge and the hope is to remove starchy, sugary or fatty foods from your diet.

One of the modern day issues with the MIND diet for Alzheimer’s prevention

Health is expensive.

Whether you’re acutely unwell or you’re committed to a wellness strategy for yourself, it’s going to cost. Sadly, this is the case for the nutritious MIND diet. When you consider the cost of highly processed food with little to no nutritious value they are cheap by comparison to organic or farm fresh produce.

This no doubt will be a significant barrier for many folk.

No Cure for Alzheimer’s But Prevention Is A Good Path To Be On

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and this diet doesn’t propose to be a cure.

The Lancet “Risk Factors For Dementia” report states that you can reduce your personal lifetime risk of dementia by up to 35% with simple lifestyle changes. That’s a 1 in 3 chance reduction!

Read the full Lancet Dementia 2017 Commission:
The Lancet: Dementia prevention, intervention, and care

The MIND diet for Alzheimer’s prevention aligns with the growing evidence base that food plays a vital role in mediating chronic disease process in our bodies. A diet which brings the gut, body and  brain into a state of well being is no doubt a positive but at the minimum adding to another factor in favour of reducing your personal risk of Alzheimer’s type dementia.

Occupational Therapy Brisbane

In the last few months, Occupational Therapy Brisbane has been going through an innovative transformation of practice. This has resulted in some of the team being trained in the Bredesen Protocols and working directly with functional medicine practitioners, nutritionists to achieve a comprehensive dementia treatment and MCI service. There is more to come from us in 2018 on this.

Of course, at Occupational Therapy Brisbane we offer mobile occupational therapy services to patients and their families in the Brisbane area impacted by dementia.  To arrange for a consultation or in-home or in room assessment with one of our accomplished therapists, we invite you contact us online or call us today on 1300 783 200.

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References:
New MIND diet may significantly protect against Alzheimer’s disease
Web MD Alzheimer’s prevention diet
Healthy Eating Tips
MIND Diet Associated with reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s type dementia

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