Risk factors for diseases of neurons:
Hypertension, type-2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, arthritis and lifestyle diseases such as obesity, high body mass index in mid life, stress are considered to be risk factors for neuronal diseases. In addition, environmental and genetic factors also may contribute.
Role of diet in having a healthy mind:
Studies reported by the National Institute on Aging-Alzheimer’s Association suggest that there is a direct relation between what a person eats and how it affects his brain structure and functionality.
MIND diet for healthy functioning of mind:
MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. It is a hybrid of two popular diet plans namely heart healthy Mediterranean diet and DASH diet where DASH stands for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension. All the meal plans aim at providing foods rich in anti oxidants and cutting down on foods that could trigger free radicals that cause inflammatory processes in human body.
The following are the 9 brain healthy foods that are known to offer neuro protection and prevent dementia:
Green leafy vegetables: Study conducted by researchers in 3700 participants of age 65 and above reported that consumption of vegetables specifically the green leafy vegetables such as salad greens and spinach reduce the decline in cognition. Mind protective effects of greens are attributed to the high vitamin E content in them. However, blanching of green leafy vegetables in hot water results in loss of their neuronal protective effects.
Cabbage and root vegetables: In another research study involving 2613 participants of age group 43-70yrs, it was found that higher intake of cabbage and root vegetables prevented age related intellectual and cognitive decline.
Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios are rich in fiber, minerals, monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids which have anti oxidant and anti inflammatory properties. Regular consumption of nuts not only prevents neuronal disorders but also reverses the metabolic syndrome, a set of risk factors leading to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. MIND diet plan recommends 5 servings of nuts every week.
Berries: Berries such as strawberry, bilberry, black currant, blue berry, black berry and mulberry are rich in flavanoids which are biologically active compounds such as anthocyanin, caffeic acid, catechin, quercetin, kaempferol and tannins. Flavanoids inhibit inflammatory reactions and promotes formation of new connections within neurons of brain, referred to as neuroplasticity.
Beans: Physostigmine, a compound found in calabar beans has memory enhancing properties.
MIND diet plan suggests eating beans at least thrice in a week.
Whole grains: Carbohydrates obtained from diet are to be from whole grains like barley, oats, buckwheat and quinoa. Whole grains not only has low glycemic index but also contains Vitamin E.
Fish: Higher intake of fish is correlated to lower reports of dementia. Salmons, tunas and halibuts are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. MIND diet plan suggests having fish at least once a week.
Poultry: Lean meat has less cholesterol and total fat. It is recommended to have chicken, turkey or duck two times in a week.
Olive oil: Use olive oil for cooking as it has healthy and brain, heart friendly fats. It is rich in phenolic compounds that counteract accumulation of toxic proteins.
5 Foods to avoid:
Avoid or limit taking of the following foods:
- Red meat
- butter and margarine
- pastries and sweets
- fried foods and fast foods
Stress causes oxidative damage to the body. Click to read 4 ways to deal with work stress
To spread the Alzheimer’s awareness here is a brief overview on Alzheimer’s disease:
Alzheimer’s disease is a rising mental health problem in populations of presenile and senile age. In diseases affecting neurons such as the Alzheimer’s the healthy neurons of brain start deteriorating when toxic proteins accumulate in them. When this occurs, the neurons “switch off” one by one and the person starts having difficulty in remembering even simple details such as names of their family members, carrying out banal activities of day to day life and controlling their emotions which eventually progresses to end stage disease. Alzheimer’s diseases necessitates proper custodial care of the patients.
The Everything Guide to the MIND Diet: Optimize Brain Health and Prevent Disease with Nutrient-dense Foods