Showing posts with label MIND diet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MIND diet. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tips for a Sharper Brain and Better Memory

While most of us will not completely lose our memory to Alzheimer's Disease or another form of dementia, there may be times when nearly all of us feel as though our thinking is a bit fuzzy or we cannot remember as well as we used to.  At the same time, we are constantly amazed by some of our peers who seem to stay "sharp as a tack."  Is there anything the rest of us can do to have a sharper brain and clear memory?  According to a number of leading experts, the answer is "Yes."

The Connection Between Your Heart and Brain

Our brain is dependent on the nutrients which our heart sends its way.  According to Dr. Hannah Gardener in the Department of Neurology at the University of Miami, the stronger our heart, the less cognitive decline we will experience.  She suggests that everyone strives to meet as many of the goals on this list as possible:

Stop Smoking
Have a BMI of under 25
Be physically active at least 150 minutes a week
Have a total cholesterol under 200 mg/dL
Have a healthy blood pressure under 120/80 mmHg
Have a healthy blood sugar under 100 mg/dL
Eat a diet rich in fruits, veggies and whole gains; low in sodium and sweets

Even if you cannot achieve all of the above goals perfectly, the closer you come, the better off your brain will be.

Follow the MIND Diet

This blog has discussed the MIND diet before.  It is short for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.  MIND is much easier to remember.  Below is a brief summary of the diet, although anyone who wants to follow it would be smart to get a more detailed book on the subject.


6 servings of salad a week
7 servings of other vegetables a week
2 servings of berries a week
5 servings of nuts a week
3 servings of whole grains a day
1 serving of fish (not fried) every week
3 servings of beans a week
2 servings of poultry a week
Use extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter
Optional: 1 glass of wine a day


Butter - no more than one tablespoon a day
Cheese - no more than one serving a week
Red meat - no more than four servings a week
Fried foods - less than one serving a week
Sweets and pastries - no more than five servings a week

Exercise Your Brain

Research has shown that people who regularly give their bodies and brains a work-out are able to postpone the signs of cognitive decline.  Here are some of the things everyone should do:

Get exercise - walk, cycle, swim and lift light weights - 150 minutes a week
Play games - chess, board games, puzzles, etc.
Meditate - spend your "down time" meditating a few minutes every day
Explore Your Artistic Side - sing, act, draw, paint or play an instrument
Read - in particular, read books as well as newspapers or magazines

Other Health and Lifestyle Changes

In addition to the above recommendations, research has shown a link between socializing with others and having a higher level of cognition.  On the other hand, people who are lonely tend to have poorer brain health.  Stay in touch with family and friends.  Join a club.  If you are religious, get involved in a place of worship.  Sign up to take classes.  The more time you spend interacting with other people and learning new things, the more likely you will be able to postpone dementia.

In addition, see your doctor regularly and treat any other problems you may have, including emotional ones.  People who have depression in middle age are at a higher risk for cognitive decline in later life.  People who have sleep problems also see more rapid mental decline as they age.  Talk to your doctor about any health issues you are experiencing and get them treated.  

Medications and Dementia

If you believe that you or a loved one is experiencing signs of dementia, see your doctor as soon as possible.  Researchers are continually discovering new medications which seem to slow down the progression of Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia.  The sooner these drugs are started, the more successful they are.

In addition, it is possible your brain fogginess or symptoms of dementia could actually be a side effect of a medication you are currently taking.  If you suspect this could be your situation, talk to your doctor about changes which could be made to your prescriptions to minimize this problem.

If you are interested in learning more about how to maintain your health as you age, financial planning, Medicare, Social Security, where to retire and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

MIND Diet Reduces Alzheimers Risk

Are you worried about your Alzheimer's Disease risk?  Follow the MIND diet and you may be relieved to know that there is something you can do to cut your risk in half ... simply by eating a healthy diet.  Even better, you do not have to be 100% compliant in order to benefit from this diet.  You just need to follow it most of the time!

This vegetable based diet may also explain the long, healthy lives of people who live in the Blue Zones (the places on earth where people routinely live to be 100 years old and have a lower than normal incidence of dementia).  If the idea of living longer, while staying healthy and thinking more clearly sounds appealing to you, you may want to try following this diet, too.

Facts about the MIND Diet

The MIND Diet was developed by Professor Martha Clare Morris and other researchers at Rush University in Chicago.  It is a mixture of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet (a blood pressure lowering eating plan). 

MIND stands for Mediterranean-Dash Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.

The researchers came up with the MIND diet after following 923 people between the ages of 58 and 98 over a period of nearly ten years.  While the Mediterranean and DASH diets also significantly lowered Alzheimer's risk, this was only true when the participants were rigorous about following those eating plans.  The MIND eating regimen does not need to be followed quite so carefully.  In fact, those who followed the plan only moderately were still able to reduce their Alzheimer's risk by 35%.

If you are interested in trying out this eating plan, what are the foods should you be eating and avoiding?

Foods to Eat on the MIND Diet

Vegetables - both green and other colors
Whole grains
Olive oil

Foods to Minimize on the MIND Diet

Red meat
Animal fats
Sugary foods
Fried foods
Fast food

Eating Rules for the MIND Diet

Eat vegetables and and nuts daily
Eat poultry twice a week
Eat berries twice a week
Eat less than one tablespoon of butter a day

As you can see, even the foods you need to minimize, like animal fats, do not need to be eliminated completely.  Having a little real butter on a slice of whole wheat toast still keeps you within acceptable ranges.

In addition to lowering your Alzheimer's risk, there is evidence that this eating style will also lower your risk of heart disease, as well as certain cancers.  The good news is that there is nothing harmful in this eating style and, if you "cheat" once in a while, you are still reaping the overall benefits.


If you are interested in learning about other health issues that could affect you during retirement, use the tabs at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of other helpful articles from this blog.

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