The MIND Diet and Other Boosters to Improve Your Mental Health
As we age, one of the biggest concerns we face is to ensure the mind remains as active, or more active, than our body. Currently, after enduring more than a year of a global pandemic, the mind is also one of the top concerns of mental health specialists. Confinement, social distancing, hygiene preoccupation, and fear of contagion have undoubtedly left their mark on each of us. All of this has also been individually reflected in our minds, its condition, and capabilities. Therefore, it is extremely important to support mental health on all fronts and keep the mind strong, active, and well-focused. Here are some suggestions based on the diet recommended by brain health experts:
MIND, the diet that can help maintain memory
Everyone has their own preferences and dietary needs, but brain care experts at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago believe that a healthy mind diet is one that combines the Mediterranean diet with the DASH diet (used to control hypertension), because they focus on foods that protect the brain from deterioration, help nourish it and improve its functions, reduce oxidative stress, fight brain inflammation, and prevent the formation of plaque, among other things. The fusion of these diets was coined the MIND Diet. (1)
Although there were already scientific indications that following this dietary fusion would slow down brain deterioration, the Chicago experts investigated the relationship of all three diets (Mediterranean, DASH, and MIND) as they relate to Alzheimer's disease. In the study, 923 participants aged 58 to 98 years, were followed for 4.5 years. The results indicated that, although all three diets can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's, the MIND diet has a moderate advantage.
It focuses on a group of 10 foods that are good for brain health, like:
Green leafy vegetables. Consuming at least 1 cup of raw leaves or ½ cup of cooked greens will make your brain function as it did 11 years ago, meaning delayed mental faculty deterioration. Minimum 1 serving daily.
Fruits such as berries. Experts suggest consuming fruits at least twice a week, since flavonoids have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help keep the brain in good condition. Minimum 1 serving per day.
Oily fish. Salmon, tuna, trout, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that reduce brain inflammation. Minimum of 2 servings per week.
Walnuts and olive oil contain vitamin E, which protects against oxidative stress. Eat 5 walnuts per week and use olive oil in your daily cooking.
Whole grains, poultry, and beans. Minimum 3 servings of grains daily, 2 servings of poultry weekly, and consume beans at least 3 times a week.
Supplements that support a healthy brain and active mind
The MIND diet even recommends a widely liked ‘food’ option: red wine. The recommended serving is 1 glass a day, and the reasoning behind it is resveratrol. Various research has shown that this phenol can help improve memory in the elderly (2) as well as some cognitive and performance tests, primarily because it helps brain blood flow and vasodilator response. (3)
Omega 3 fatty acids are very important for promoting good brain function because they improve cognition and brain activation, even in young adults. (4)
Vitamin B complex
The combination of folic acid, or B9, with vitamins B6 and B12 is usually promoted to slow brain deterioration. Although there are foods that contain these vitamins, there is a significant percentage of the population aged 50+ that cannot assimilate them effectively. This warrants a daily supplement to properly maintain mental faculties. There is research that indicates all eight B vitamins are good for brain performance because they are involved in the synthesis of neurochemicals, metabolism, and various neurological functions. (5)
The star ingredient here is curcumin, which reduces inflammation and protects neurons from deterioration with its antioxidants. Diseases like Alzheimer's can be prevented, and there are studies that show it can improve cognitive functions such as memory. (6)
We are not spared from exercise
The MIND diet, like DASH, recommends 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise or at least 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate intensity. This is enough to activate and oxygenate the brain, making it work better. Our body is like the operating center, dictating how the rest of our body (and life!) work in general. Keep the body healthy and remember that the mind is master of everything.
Let's be healthier, together.
Your Santo Remedio team
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