Alzheimers-disease

Is This Diet The Answer To Alzheimer’s Disease?

A new promising study suggests a simple diet known as MIND could significantly lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. What’s better, even participants who didn’t follow the diet meticulously still reaped the benefits.

RELATED: Seven Ways To Maintain A Healthy Brain

Sound too good to be true? These findings could have huge implications on the relationship between diet and brain health.

Developed by nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris, the MIND diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH diet. The name MIND is an acronym for ‘Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay’ diet (phew- that was a mouthful!).

What’s really surprising are the raw figures. The study found that participants who followed the MIND diet lowered their risk of Alzheimer’s Disease by as much as 53 per cent. Even those who didn’t adhere to all the rules reduced their risk by about 35 per cent.

“One of the more exciting things about this is that people who adhere even moderately to the MIND diet had a reduction in their risk,” Morris told Science Daily. “I think that will motivate people.”

Want to try the MIND diet yourself? Here are five simple ways to try this diet at home:

1. Up your grain game

Health, Diet, Alzheimer's Disease, Wellbeing, Brain health

The MIND diet has 15 components, many of which focus on foods shown to assist in brain health. Whole grains are recommended three times per week, a recommendation that might seem controversial amid claims by neuroscientist Dr David Perlmutter that grains can lead to dementia and chronic headaches.

Nutritionist Melanie Eager admits this topic can lead to consumer confusion, but believes grains can be positive for brain health. “Whole grains have a low GI which will release glucose slowly into the blood providing a supply of energy and allowing you to stay mentally alert throughout your day,” she says.

2. Snack on nuts and berries

Health, Diet, Alzheimer's Disease, Wellbeing, Brain health

Nuts and berries are regular favourites on the list of brain boosting superfoods, so it’s no surprise they feature heavily in the MIND diet. Diet developer Martha Claire Morris says that blueberries in particular are best. “Blueberries are one of the more potent foods in terms of protecting the brain,” she says.

Studies have shown diets rich in blueberries have a significant link to improved learning capacity and motor skills. Eager notes it’s better to opt for organic berries as produce can be heavily sprayed. Likewise, nuts are recommended as a great daily snack on this diet. Nuts and seeds are a great source of Vitamin E, which has been shown to correspond with less cognitive decline in ageing.

“The best nuts for brain health are walnuts- they even look like a brain!” says Eager, who calls them Mother Nature’s brain booster. “They contain high amounts of antioxidants and Omega 3 which is great for brain health,” she says. Other nuts to add to your snack list include almonds, pistachios and macadamias.

 3. Drink up

Health, Diet, Alzheimer's Disease, Wellbeing, Brain health

The link between drinking wine and boosting your brain health is often debated, but according to the MIND diet, the occasional glass of vino is perfectly fine. It is believed that resveratrol, found in abundance in red wine and dark chocolate may improve memory. A study of adults who took a resveratrol supplement for six months found those who had the active ingredient had better short-term memory recall than those who took a placebo.

On the other hand, a 2012 study by Rutgers University in the US found that drinking just two glasses of wine a day could almost halve the number of brain cells we produce. While more research is needed to define the link between wine and brain health, the take-home message is clear: sip in moderation.

4. Say goodbye to fast food

Health, Diet, Alzheimer's Disease, Wellbeing, Brain health

To reap the full benefits of the MIND diet, participants had to limit their intake of specific unhealthy foods. Butter, cheese and fast food all made the hit list with researchers recommending less than a serving per week of any of the three.

“Foods such as pastries and fried food are high in saturated and trans-fats which cause inflammation in the body – including the brain – due to the amount of free radicals that are released,” Eager explains.

Eager points out that studies show long-term neuron damage can occur when a high fat diet is consumed. “When the brain attempts to heal this neuron damage, brain scarring occurs.”

5. Fish and meat in moderation

 Health, Diet, Alzheimer's Disease, Wellbeing, Brain health

Unlike the popular Mediterranean Diet which requires a serving of fish every day, the MIND diet recommends eating poultry at least twice a week and fish only once a week to reap the benefits.

Fish and meat contain Omega 3 fatty acids and there are two active forms in the body-DHA and EPA. DHA is essential for brain development and is found in oily fish and grass fed animal products,” explains Eager.

If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, don’t fret. “It is possible to obtain all your essential fatty acids on a vegetarian and vegan diet through chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds [and] green leafy vegetables,” she says.

Images via rebloggy, Tumblr, What To Cook, Bondi Beauty, India Marks

April 29, 2015

How To Naturally Boost Your Memory

Sometimes your memory might not feel as good as it once did; you’re constantly forgetting to grab some groceries from the supermarket, or mixing up appointments – nothing too big.

This doesn’t mean you have to resort to extreme measures to refresh your memory! Try just a few of our tips on how to boost your memory the natural way – through your diet.

RELATED: 5 Tips To Help You Catch More ZZZs

Chinese sage

This powerful plant contains vitamins and minerals that are used to treat people suffering in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Sage has been used for over 1000 years as a natural alternative to traditional western medicine.

Avocado

Delicious avocados are easy to incorporate into your diet and can be found at any green grocer or supermarket. Packed with healthy monounsaturated fats which actually increase blood flow to the brain, they are the perfect pick-me-up if your mind is feeling a bit groggy.

Dark chocolate

The darker, the better! Dark chocolate is known to reduce inflammation and oxidation in the brain, which diminishes the chances of any neurological diseases. Just a few pieces a day could really change your life, and the way you think.

Apples

Doesn’t matter if they’re Fuji, Pink Lady, or even Granny Smith varieties, apples are a great afternoon snack if you’re feeling under the weather. Apples in general help to fight Alzheimer’s which is the leading cause of neurological illness in Australia.

Green tea

Just one cup of green tea a day is enough to decrease high levels of protein in the brain, which can potentially build-up and cause memory loss. If you don’t like the bitter taste of green tea, just one teaspoon of honey will make it so much sweeter.

Blueberries

Blueberries help to delay any age-related problems which can directly disrupt healthy brain function, motor skills, and even vision. Keep a pack of blueberries in your freezer so they’re always fresh for you to snack on.

Rosemary

Essential oils such as lavender and rosemary are important if you want to get your memory back on track. Although it might be one of the most expensive options on the list, rosemary also helps to improve your mood and keep your brain focused on the tasks ahead.

Olive oil

Foods which are high in Vitamin E are packed with antioxidants which help protect nerve cells in the brain. Cook your food with olive oil or sprinkle it over your salad to keep your brain feeling active and healthy.

Extra tips

Avoid trans fats

Too many fatty foods packed with trans fats can actually destroy your brain one bite at a time. Keep to a balanced diet, and refrain from eating too many sweets which are only harming your body.

Enjoy leafy vegetables

Packed with antioxidants which are good for your entire body, leafy vegetables should feature in your diet at least once a day. Enjoy a fresh salad, sandwich or stir-fry and cook your meals from scratch as much as you can.

Avoid saturated fats

Saturated fats don’t look or sound too appealing once you realise they have absolutely no nutritional content. If your diet still relies heavily on these meals, try and substitute them for a healthier alternative before going cold-turkey.

Image via Examiner

November 8, 2014