Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia are perhaps the most frightening diagnoses that one can receive – and with good reason. We know they those diseases will hold us captive until our last days. The latest statistics show that Alzheimer’s Disease is now the third underlying cause of death in the United States. As a result, anyone would do anything to avoid the onset of these diseases that steal time and lives. Enter the MIND diet.
MIND stands for the Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. Researchers have discovered that there is a direct correlation between food intake and cognitive ability in aging persons. In other words, healthy eating may be the key to preventing and/or delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia.
Researchers from the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago studied 923 people aged 59 to 98 over the course of 4.5 years. The MIND diet resulted in a remarkable 35 percent decrease in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s when people followed it moderately, that is, eating healthy foods and including an occasional treat.
The MIND diet involves ordinary food, but it’s healthy food. It’s comprised of whole grains, green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, fish, poultry, and nutrient rich, anti-oxidant rich berries. What it doesn’t include in great amounts is butter, cheese, fried foods and sweets. A diet like that can lead to some seriously delicious dishes full of high flavor and texture.
Here’s the challenge. It’s not as though an individual knows that the future includes developing Alzheimer’s or dementia. None of us knows what the future holds. However, if the diet is healthy for cardiac health, hypertension, helps to prevent diabetes, and might reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s by one-third, what is there to lose?
A healthy diet keeps bones and joints strong, prevents sluggishness and increases energy. Fresh, healthy food can help reduce stress and improve sleep patterns. The increased number of farm stands and community farms make it easy to get freshly grown produce during most of the year, even in colder climates. Frozen produce retains the majority of its nutrients and is often a better alternative to old, fresh food that has traveled long distances from warmer climates to the cold northern states. If fish is too expensive and beans cause digestion problems, focus on loading up on nuts and berries, poultry and leafy green vegetables. If you are determined to eat healthy food, there is always a way to achieve success.
The stakes are enormous. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that every 67 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s’ Disease. That means that an estimated 473,000 people age 65 or older will develop Alzheimer’s disease this year. If ever there was a reason to adopt better eating habits, that is perhaps the most persuasive argument one can find.