Have you heard of the MIND diet for Alzheimers?
You are what you eat. But what you eat also shapes who you become.
Decades of nutritional studies repeatedly confirm this. However, missing from the equation was a diet specifically tailored for brain health.
The late Martha Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist, studied foods and nutrients associated explicitly with lower cognitive decline and lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and in 2015, premiered the MIND diet.
The MIND diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet (its name is a combo of those two diets).
And it just passed its latest test.
In a study published in September in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease scientists show the MIND diet can slow cognitive decline and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease dementia. This held true despite the fact that study participant’s brains still developed the abnormal clumps of proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Study author Klodian Dhana is an assistant professor at Rush University. His focus has been on identifying risk factors of dementia. In the absence of a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, scientists aim to identify which modifiable lifestyle factors can lower the risk of cognitive decline.
Nutrition, he says, “has gained interest because it can be readily modified.”
“I hope the findings of this study motivate people to practice a healthier lifestyle through nutrition, exercise, and cognitive activities,” he says.
How the Alzheimers Discovery Was Made
Dhana and colleagues examined data pulled from Rush University’s ongoing Memory and Aging Project representing 569 participants. These individuals lived in the greater Chicago area and began sharing their vitals in 1997. In 2004, an annual food frequency questionnaire was thrown into the mix, which evaluated how often they ate specific foods. All participants agreed to undergo clinical evaluations while they were alive and a brain autopsy when they died.
Each participant was assigned a MIND diet score based on how closely they adhered to meals within it. Within the MIND diet are 10 brain-healthy food groups and five unhealthy groups:
The unhealthy group includes butter and stick margarine, cheese, fried and fast food, pastries and sweets, and red meat.
Correctly following the MIND diet involved daily consumption of:
- At least three servings of whole grains
- A green leafy vegetable
- One other vegetable
- A glass of wine
Also included were nuts as snacks, beans every other day, poultry and berries twice a week, and fish at least once a week.
Proper adherence included limiting consumption of the items in the unhealthy foods group.
Overall, about 70 percent of the participants were women, the mean level of education was 15 years, and the average age at death was 91 years.
Participants with a higher MIND diet score were also found to have better memory and thinking skills as they became older.
But autopsies of their brains revealed something staggering: While some brains contained the protein deposits commonly found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease — enough to merit a postmortem diagnosis — they never developed clinical dementia.
This suggests the MIND diet supports cognitive function, regardless of pathologies related to Alzheimer’s disease. The results align with previous findings: For example, the MIND diet is also associated with delaying the onset of Parkinson’s disease and causing the brains of elderly adults to effectively function as if they are 7.5 years younger than their peers.
Why the MIND diet works
While it’s established the MIND diet contributes to cognitive resilience, it seemingly doesn’t influence how the brain physically changes. So why can it still help?
It may come down to the antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective elements within the food included in the diet. These foods are known to protect the brain, regardless of your age.
The study authors point to green leafy vegetables and nuts: These are rich in nutrients, including Vitamin E. Vitamin E, in turn, is an antioxidant that protects neurons from damage related to oxidative stress.
Obviously, the MIND Diet isn’t particularly onerous. It relies not so much as remaining on trach with the essentials as ensuring you stay off the other foods.
One great way to ensure you get sufficient greens a day can be found in AlkaWay Greens.
They are not like any other greens powder in that they are low in oxalates. Oxalates are found in they usual green used on your ordinary greens powders in the form of kale and spinach. Using agreen powder with these ingredients certainly gets your required intake level up.. but at the cost of ingesting large amounts of inflammatory oxalates.
So, what is in AlkaWay Organic Greens?
- NETTLE: a nutritive herb used as a spring tonic for millennia. As a nutritive, it gently assists in the elimination of toxins. A gentle circulatory stimulant. Contains iron, calcium and vitamin A.
- PARSLEY: similar to nettle. It is also a nutritive full of minerals. Historically used to help treat anaemia- not just because it has iron, but because it helps us use the iron from other foods. Ancient Romans used it as a hangover cure.
- OAT GRASS: is a nutritive and a nervine. It builds deep energy for the next day, especially when riding an emotional roller coaster. Oat straw nourishes your nerves and may improve our ability to live with uncertainty.
- BARLEY GRASS: another nutritive and more alkaline than wheatgrass. Boosts natural antioxidant defence systems. Rich in minerals and chlorophyll. Because it is the barley grass and not the grain, it is naturally free from gluten.
- CHLORELLA: an algae, and a nutritive. Helps support your detox – especially for heavy metals and pollution. Chlorella is the only ingredient not as a therapeutic dose as it is strong and needs to be used gently.
- BLUEBERRY: a great alkaliser and a great antioxidant. Blueberries are believed to have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all common fruits and vegetables.
- GREEN TEA: a great antioxidant that can reach the brain to help prevent free radical damage that may lead to a decrease in brain function and… it can be rather calming.
- BROCCOLI SPROUT: included for its sulforaphane. Sulforaphane helps to regulate cellular defences, helping body systems that recognise abnormal cells and then helps the body eliminate them.
It can protect good cells and help eliminate bad ones.
- JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE: included for its high levels of inulin; a fantastic digestive fibre and prebiotic. Prebiotics provide food for probiotics, causing an environment where our probiotics thrive.
If the bacteria in our gut isn’t happy, then neither are we.
- GINGER: alkalising, anti-inflammatory and a great circulatory stimulant – but it is in the mix because it’s an adjuvant. Adjuvants help other herbs work better. This formula means you are getting, even more, benefit each time you take your greens.
Go here to learn more about AlkaWay Greens.