November is National Alzheimers Disease and Family Care Giver Awareness Month.Alzheimer's disease is the 6th most common cause of death in the United States. There is encouraging, growing scientific evidence that dietary choices can actually reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. I don't know about you, but I'm curious about anything that can possibly protect us from this disease. I watched my Grandparents struggle with my Grandfather's condition. It is a disease that leaves no family member untouched.
We are now learning lifestyle choices can lower our risk and provide protection.
Newly published research suggests that a specific diet called the MIND diet may reduce the incidence of brain disease that increases a person's risk in developing Alzheimer's disease.
Developed by Martha Clare Morris, PhD, a nutritional epidemiologist and her colleagues, the MIND diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. Both diets have been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions, like hypertension, heart attack and stroke. Researchers have found that the two older diets provide protection against dementia as well.
For 120 recipes that can enhance mental clarity, read The Healthy Mind Cookbook.
What's brain-healthy, what's not?
The MIND diet has 15 dietary components, including 10 "brain-healthy food groups:"
Green leafy vegetables
The five unhealthy groups are:
Butter and stick margarine
Pastries and sweets
Fried or fast food
The MIND diet includes at least three servings of whole grains, a salad and one other vegetable every day - along with a glass of wine. It also involves snacking most days on nuts and eating beans every other day or so, poultry and berries at least twice a week and fish at least once a week. Dieters must limit eating the designated unhealthy foods, especially butter (less than 1 tablespoon a day), cheese, and fried or fast food (less than a serving a week for any of the three), to have a real shot at avoiding the devastating effects of Alzheimer's, according to the study.
Blueberries are Potent!
Berries are the only fruit specifically included in the MIND diet. "Blueberries are one of the more potent foods in terms of protecting the brain," Morris said, and strawberries have also performed well in past studies of the effect of food on cognitive function. Protective Plant Chemicals have the potential to protect your health.
Caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease or dementia can be a long, stressful, and intensely emotional journey. If you know a caregiver and want to support them, don't wait to be asked, plan a time to come over and relieve them time to "Self care." Express your gratitude to them in a tangible way, an encouraging note, email, or call, can go a long way in showing these super heros you care.
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