We know there are lots of diets out there. But most of them are about losing weight or gaining calories. It’s sad that very few of them talk about mental health, even when it’s a known fact that what we eat directly impacts our overall wellbeing, our mind and mood included.
Now, when our food plays such a major role in boosting our mental health, isn’t it possible for it to help with overcoming medical conditions that impact the brain? Diseases like Alzheimer’s, for instance?
According to studies, a special kind of diet called the ‘MIND Diet’ could hold the key to uplifting the mental state of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s. Allow us to give you a detailed peek into the matter.
First things first – What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
If you aren’t familiar with it, Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurodegenerative condition that leads to confusion and memory loss. You’ll be surprised to know that almost 5.8 million Americans are suffering from dementia, and it’s the 6th leading cause of death in the US. One of every three seniors is dying from the condition.
Although there’s no definite research proving the efficiency of MIND diet for Alzheimer’s, there’s enough evidence supporting the connection.
The link between Alzheimer’s and MIND diet
The MIND diet is all about limiting animal foods and shifting towards plant-based foods. It focuses on cutting down saturated fat and increasing the consumption of leafy vegetables and berries. The concept of the diet comes from a healthy mix of Mediterranean and DASH diets.
As per a 2015 study, plant-based diets – especially DASH and Mediterranean diets – can play a significant role in boosting cognitive abilities and mental health. That’s when the idea behind the MIND diet took shape. This diet plan has been devised by combining foods that are particularly potent in enhancing cognitive strength. But the key lies in consuming these foods, in particular, serving sizes so that maximum and balanced benefits can be achieved.
Which foods should be included in the MIND Diet plan?
- Green veggies – 6 servings per week
- Nuts – 5 servings per week
- Berries – 2 servings per week
- Beans – 3 servings per week
- Whole grains – 3 servings a day
- Fish – one serving per week
- Poultry – 2 servings per week
- Olive oil must be used as the primary oil
And just as knowing what to have is important, taking care of what to avoid is also equally necessary. You should avoid the consumption of red meat, margarine/butter, cheese, sweets, and fast food as much as possible if you’re following the MIND diet. But experts do suggest that these foods can be had in prescribed moderate quantities.
Even for a patient, it’s hard to shift to a completely new diet plan immediately. But starting with small changes every day won’t be that challenging. If someone in your family is suffering from Alzheimer’s, adopting this healthy intake approach can work wonders for them.