When confronting our greatest personal fears, most people would agree on one common fear – that our minds betray us and begin to deteriorate while we still have several years of life ahead of us. This is the unfortunate reality of the 1.6 million people suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease in India. And while research into this debilitating disease is ongoing, we already know some things about reducing our risk of contracting it.

This year, for World Alzheimer’s Day, we got in touch with registered dietitian and certified fitness professional, Anita Mirchandani, who is also the New York State Dietetic Association Media Spokesperson for 2016-2018; she has some good news for us – a change in lifestyle and diet could well be the answer to ensuring our mental health.

It’s All About the Food You Eat

The brain, just like any other organ, needs proper nourishment to grow and thrive. What you put into your body could end up dictating the state of your mental health for years to come. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that we pay heed to the food we consume. Mirchandani suggests a diet that could lead to long-term mental benefits, “In the last 2-3 years, the MIND diet has become popular. MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay and it helped slow the rate of cognitive decline and protect against Alzheimer’s regardless of other risk factors.”

According to a study published by the US National Library of Medicine, even a moderate adherence to the MIND diet could significantly decrease your risk of falling prey to Alzheimer’s disease. And the good news is that it’s a fairly straightforward diet to follow – “The MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diet, focusing on non-processed, wholesome nutrient variety. This diet breaks its recommendations down into 10 ‘brain healthy food groups’ a person should eat and five ‘unhealthy food groups’ to avoid. The MIND diet emphasizes an increase inclusion in plant protein sources to help encourage a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants into the body,” says Mirchandani.

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What Can I Eat on The MIND Diet?

To include:
Green leafy vegetables – at least six servings per week;
Unsalted nuts – five servings per week;
Berries (especially blueberries) – two or more servings per week;
Beans and lentils (dal) – include them in at least four meals a week;
Fish – at least once a week;
Poultry – two or three times a week, as long as it isn’t fried;
Whole grains – three or more servings a day;
All other vegetables – eat one vegetable (apart from the greens) at least once a day;
Olive oil – to be used as your primary cooking oil;
Red wine – one glass daily.

To limit and reduce:
Red meat
Butter/Margarine (high saturated fat)
Cheese
Added Sugar
Fried foods
Fast food

A Simple Recipe to Get You Started

A meal for one would be something as simple as:

  • One cup of green moong dal, prepared with onions, squash, tomatoes, garlic and ginger
  • ½ cup brown rice
  • 2-3 baked or roasted vegetables (as potatoes, zucchini, beets, carrots)

 

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Cover Image Courtesy: Shutterstock.com

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