Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease that robs older people who suffer from it of the basic skills of thinking, remembering and reasoning. In the USA 11% of people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s. Yet a rural community in Northern India called Ballabgarh has only a 1.07% prevalence of Alzheimer’s in the same age group. Diet has a lot to do with the difference and the inventor of the MIND Diet hopes to reverse the trend in the USA.
Ballabgarh is a farming community where people are physically active most days, no-one is overweight, there is a strong sense of community, and the diet is largely vegetarian. While the other factors probably have a lot to do with a healthy mind, there is increasing focus on the role of diet in mental health. The lesson from Ballabgarh focusses on eating vegetables, curries containing turmeric, and remaining within a healthy weight range.
However, the most recent research into using diet to prevent mental deterioration is the MIND Diet. ‘MIND’ is a mashup of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets and was developed by Martha Clare Morris, PhD at Rush University in the USA. It has 15 components; 10 foods you should eat and 5 you should avoid.
The 10 foods to eat are:
. Green leafy vegetables
. Other vegetables
. Whole grains
. Olive oil
The 5 foods to avoid are:
. Red meats
. Butter and stick margarine
. Pastries and sweets
. Fried or fast food
While the Mediterranean and DASH diets will also help prevent mental deterioration, Morris developed the MIND diet to make it easier for Americans to follow. For example, rather than having to eat two serves of fruit per day, you only eat berries, especially blueberries which contain polyphenols, twice a week. Rather than have three serves of vegetables per day, you only eat green leafy vegetables six times per week and other vegetables once a day. You only eat fish once per week on the MIND diet, and poultry twice a week.You snack on nuts every day and use olive oil as your cooking oil. Whole grains are eaten every day and wine once per day. It’s low in dairy but you can have milk and yogurt.
For more information about Alzeimer’s disease, check out this article.