Did you know, that an alarming eleven percent of adults (about 1 out of 9) aged 65 and older suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Chances are you have a loved one that has it, know of someone that does, or has lost a loved one to this horrible disease. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, with 1 in 3 seniors dying with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. From the years 2000-2013, the incidence of Alzheimer’s has increased a staggering seventy one percent, and unfortunately expected to grow even higher with the upcoming years. It’s quite scary, for those that have it and should be just as scary for those that don’t. The simple fact is, if you have a brain, you’re at risk. It’s a disease that most doctors thought in the past couldn’t be prevented. Fortunately, new research is now providing hope in preventing the onset of and reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
The Rush University study was done on Chicago-area seniors, which had them follow the MIND diet – a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. The diet consists of what’s considered 10 brain healthy food groups and 5 unhealthy food groups. To put it simply, eating more of what’s in the good group and less of what’s in the bad. The results they found were astounding! The MIND diet was found to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 53 percent in participants that strictly followed the nutrition plan. Even those that only moderately followed the plan had a lowered risk of 35 percent.
The diet, developed by Dr. Martha Clare Morris and her colleagues, was based on years’ of information on the effects of food and nutrients on the health and functioning of the brain. Past studies lead researchers to believe that what we eat plays a significant role in whether one develops Alzheimer’s or not. The longer someone follows the MIND diet the less likely they will develop the debilitating disease. Then of course, the less you follow the MIND diet and eat in an unhealthy manner, the higher your chances of getting the disease.
The MIND diet recommends getting in several servings of green leafy vegetables – spinach, kale, broccoli, collards and other greens. Other brain healthy foods included in the diet are blueberries, beans, nuts, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil, red wine, and grass fed beef. The foods you should avoid or strictly limit are butter, margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, fried foods and fast foods. By increasing the “good” and decreasing the “bad” brain foods in your diet, you in turn can either decrease or increase your risk of getting Alzheimer’s. The MIND diet is well worth investing in, for such an investment in your health and your life shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s a chance of a lifetime to increase the chance of living a long and healthy life. Your life matters, your mind matters, to eat what matters.