Food for Thought
You are what you eat! What if you are told that simply tweaking your diet could reduce your risks for Alzheimer's Disease and strengthening your brain overall? Research has shown that an adherence to certain foods are beneficial to your brain health and has the potential to lower your risk for health problems such as Mild Cognitive Impairment or Alzheimer's Disease.
The most effective and popular diet followed is the MIND diet which is a hybrid of 2 diets: the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
The Mediterranean diet consists of vegetables, nuts, berries, avocado, olive oil, and fish. The DASH diet also puts emphasis on natural foods, vegetables, and limits red meat, saturated fats, and processed foods. The Mediterranean diet’s emphasis on the healthy omega 3 fatty acids present in fish and olive oil is the most significant dietary factor that lowers the risk for brain diseases. Other parts of the MIND diet such as berries contain anthocyanin that prevents the progression of brain damage by free radicals and nuts that are rich in healthy fats, magnesium, vitamin E, and vitamin B also improve your brain function.
Multiple studies have backed the health benefits of the Mediterranean and DASH diet. A Study conducted by Singh B, Parsaik AK, Mielke MM, Erwin PJ, Knopman DS, Petersen RC, Roberts RO, examined people who followed the Mediterranean diet for at least a year, then compared their cognitive outcomes through tests which focused on Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's Disease (AD). The results of the study concluded that people who had a higher adherence to the diet had 33% less risk of MCI or AD compared to people with low to no adherence to the diet.
Another study led by Lourida I. did a systematic review of 11 electronic databases that studied the association between the Mediterranean diet adherence score and cognitive decline. They concluded that out of the 12 studies, 9 of them showed a significant consistent pattern with a high adherence to the Mediterranean diet and better cognitive function, lower rates of cognitive decline, and a reduced risk of Alzheimer's Disease.
So the next time you go grocery shopping, remember that the food you intake not only contributes to your health now, but also in your future!
Singh B, Parsaik AK, Mielke MM, Erwin PJ, Knopman DS, Petersen RC, Roberts RO. Association of mediterranean diet with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Alzheimers Dis. 2014;39(2):271-82. doi: 10.3233/JAD-130830. PMID: 24164735; PMCID: PMC3946820.
Lourida I, Soni M, Thompson-Coon J, Purandare N, Lang IA, Ukoumunne OC, Llewellyn DJ. Mediterranean diet, cognitive function, and dementia: a systematic review. Epidemiology. 2013 Jul;24(4):479-89. doi: 10.1097/EDE.0b013e3182944410. PMID: 23680940.