A diet that places emphasis on individual foods which, in various published scientific studies, have proven to be valid against chronic degenerative neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s
Memory problems? Afraid of “missing a few shots”? It is possible to strengthen (and defend) the brain, even with diet.
Two diets in one
The researchers of Rush University of Chicago have created a food protocol called MINDwhich stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay
which it proposes to strengthen the brain, but above all to counter the advancement of neurological pathologies most feared chronic degenerative diseases, such as l‘Alzheimer’s
The MIND diet (invented in 2015, but implemented with rigorous research over time) consists of a mix of D
Mediterranean hiet (the “real” one, mainly plant-based, as it was written HERE, ed
) and of Dash dietthe dietary treatment to stop hypertension promoted byAmerican Heart Association. «Both models have proven effective both in prevention of the risk of chronic degenerative pathologies, both in counteracting theiradvancementincluding neurological pathologies – he confirms Ilaria Prandonibiologist and nutritionist from Palazzo della Salute of the San Donato Group -, but the Chicago researchers have decided to focus more attention on individual foods which, in the various published scientific studies, have proven to be valid in protecting the brain”.
Characteristics of MIND
What are the brain-friendly foods? «They are those rich in antioxidants, polyphenols, polyunsaturated fatty acids, B vitamins, vitamin E», clarifies the specialist. And how is the MIND diet structured? «It favors seasonal fruit, vegetables, legumes (mainly beans), seeds, oily nuts (especially walnuts), extra virgin olive oil and whole grains, fish, chicken, very little red meat, very little cheese and a large limit on all processed foods».
The food plan thus described does not differ much from the Mediterranean diet, as mentioned above, and from what everyone should put on the table to stay healthy.
What then are the peculiar aspects of MIND? The nutritionist elaborated for Courier Health one daily diet plan which gives a practical example of what gods could be meals-MIND (you can see it in the graph attached above, ed).
The emphasis is placed on these individual foods with the related consumption indications:
–green and dark leafy vegetables: you need to consume a portion every day (cabbage, endive, rocket, turnip greens, chard, herbs, spinach, romaine lettuce) because they are a source of folic acid (very important for brain function );
–the red fruits (such as raspberries, blueberries, currants): they should be consumed at least 5 times a week;
–whole grains: serve three portions a day; -dried nuts: at least 5 times a week;
–the beans: in four meals a week;
–the fish: at least once a week (preferably light blue);
–chicken: twice a week.
The latest study
This type of protocol has been associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline, although the studies supporting it are mainly observational and inconclusive with respect to cause and effect. «In the recent study that Chicago researchers published on New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) there was no big difference in the improvement of cognitive scores between the control group and the one that followed the MIND diet, but it is possible that the duration of the intervention (3 years) was too short to notice differences in terms of cognitive decline », claims the expert.
In the nominated trial, the results of which were exposed in the NEJM in July 2023, the team of Rush University Medical Center enrolled 1,929 cognitively intact people, but with a family history of dementia, a body mass index (BMI) which indicated overweight and a diet defined as “non-optimal”. The identified subjects were divided into two groups who would have to follow respectively the MIND diet with mild caloric restriction or a generic diet always with mild caloric restriction (the “control group”). After three years, improvements in overall cognitive scores were observed in both groups and brain volumes were similar on MRI.
Lifestyle matters over time
«As mentioned, this type of protocol (like other healthy diets) should not be understood as a weight loss diet to abandon once the result has been obtained – comments Prandoni -, but it must be assumed as lifestyle and followed over time. For this reason the three years may not have been enough. In any case, the principles and foods on which the Chicago researchers are focusing are acceptable and not dissimilar to those of the Mediterranean diet.” Nutrition does a lot, we have written, but we remember that it is not enough against cognitive decline: «It has been seen that other healthy lifestyles are also fundamental for the prevention of cognitive decline, such as practice physical activity (especially of aerobic typeat least three times a week for 40 minutes), exercise my self
nt And maintain social relationships», concludes the specialist.
October 25, 2023 (changed October 25, 2023 | 08:25)
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