The MIND diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH diets designed to help lower the risk of dementia and other neurodegenerative complications characteristic of aging. Although it was only recently introduced and has only a few studies to show its effectiveness, following it is a simple way to live healthy.
The MIND diet is a crossbreed of the Mediterranean and DASH diets recently designed to help slow down the development of dementia and other complications that lead to cognitive decline as one advances in age. It does not include all the foods in the two diets from which it is developed but focuses on specific foods therein that promote brain function. The first article on the MIND diet was published in 2015, showing that it is fairly new. Nonetheless, eating the leafy green and non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, berries, beans, chicken, etc., in the diet is definitely a simple way to live healthy and keep your brain and other critical organs in check. Here is everything you need to know about the MIND diet.
Understanding the MIND diet
Before examining what the MIND diet looks like, we must understand it and its origin. The acronym MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. DASH is the short form for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Since the Mediterranean and DASH diets are among the healthiest, there is no harm in following the MIND diet that literally selects foods that can boost cognitive functions and slow down neurodegenerative decline from the two diets.
How MIND diet came to be
The Mediterranean and DASH diets have long been studied and found to be related to decreased risks of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, obesity, and some form of cancers. It’s no wonder that they are wildly popularized worldwide. Was that all there is? Absolutely no. Although heart diseases and diabetic problems were fairly taken care of, brain health seemed isolated, necessitating research to create a diet that would favor this organ. As such, scientists studied foods in the Mediterranean and DASH diets that could work to the advantage of the brain, consequently birthing the MIND diet. So far so good, the MIND diet seems to be working and improving cognitive health, although its first article was only published in 2015.
The basics about the MIND diet
The MIND diet is a blend of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, but it does not include everything in the two diets from which it was birthed. Currently, no guidelines have been documented on how to follow it. However, there is a list of ten food types to eat and another five categories to avoid. Following the diet is as simple as sticking to or capitalizing on the suggested foods and avoiding or limiting the categories that need to be avoided. The next two sections discuss these food categories.
What should you eat in the MIND diet?
The MIND diet recommends ten food categories you need to capitalize on to promote brain function and delay neurodegeneration. The ten categories include;
What to avoid in the MIND diet
The MIND diet also specifies five categories of foods to be minimized or avoided, and they include;
MIND diet may help promote cognitive function
Although there are only a few studies on the MIND diet, there is every reason to believe that it will work to delay neurodegeneration, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other cognitive challenges. The primary reason for this is that the diet encourages taking foods with high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, lowering the risk of inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which would exacerbate neurodegeneration. Besides, these foods reduce the concentration of the harmful beta-amyloid proteins that accumulate in the brain, causing plaques and mental disconnect.
The MIND diet was developed from the DASH and Mediterranean diets specifically to reduce the risk of dementia and slow neurodegeneration. It does not offer specific guidelines to be followed but lists ten food categories to be eaten and another five food types to be limited or avoided. Although there are only a few studies that back it, it is definitely a healthy way to eat and live healthy while protecting the brain.
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