by Healthbeat Committee at Southwest Health
You think of food to fuel your workouts, but it also can improve your brainpower! A study from Rush University in Chicago found that adults who followed a heart-healthy diet reduced their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 50% compared to those who didn’t. The diet, a hybrid of Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), is called MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) and was developed by researchers who found that people following meal plans designed to curb heart disease and type 2 diabetes also had lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease. Some of the key foods that researchers identified to help keep your mind and body strong include:
Beans—Every other day—In addition to fueling activity and keeping you regular, these complex carbs are high in antioxidants to fight inflammation, keeping your brain healthy.
Berries—At least twice per week—Berries may decrease neuron loss and improve memory performance
Colorful Veggies—Once per day—Colors indicate that a food is rich in antioxidants, which help protect neurons from age-related decay.
Greens—A salad per day—Leafy greens are rich in folate, which researchers have linked to slower rates of brain decline.
Nuts—Daily handful—Walnuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, and pistachios are rich in fiber, fat, and vitamin E (walnuts are the best for your mind).
Olive Oil—Daily—Olive oil, high in healthy fat, protects the blood vessels throughout the body, including those in the brain.
Poultry—3 to 4 oz. twice per week—Research suggests that the vitamin B12 in chicken and turkey may play a role in fighting age-related decay in the brain.
Red Wine and Dark Red Juices—No more than 5 oz. of wine daily—In moderation, red wine can help ward off brain decline, thanks to its antioxidants. Unsweetened grape and pomegranate juices can, too.
Salmon and Seafood—3-4 oz. at least once per week—The omega-3 fats in many fish are crucial for development and maintenance of brain health.
Whole Grains—Three servings per day—The B vitamins and vitamin E in whole grains, like whole wheat, oats, wild rice, and quinoa, may decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s by ridding the body of compounds linked to brain damage.