As we age, our brains age too. Our ability to think slows down, and we may experience occasional difficulty in, for example, recalling where we left our keys or retrieving a word or name. By all accounts, this is considered a normal degree of cognitive decline.
Several factors play into whether you will suffer from cognitive decline or develop Alzheimer’s disease as you age — lifestyle, health conditions, environment, and genetics, for example. But there is scientific evidence indicating that diet plays a bigger role in brain health than we ever thought. And thanks in part to Dr. Martha Clare Morris’s groundbreaking research, there are now non-invasive and effective ways to reduce one’s chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline through diet and lifestyle.
In Diet for the MIND: The Latest Science on What to Eat to Prevent Alzheimer’s and Cognitive Decline, Dr. Morris explains the MIND diet, which she created specifically to ensure that your brain receives the nutrients it needs to function at its best. She tells you which foods you should eat every day (like leafy green vegetables), which foods you should eat weekly (like certain berries and beans), and which foods are detrimental to your cognitive health (like deep-fried foods and pastries). And eighty brain healthy recipes for everything from Almond Waffles with Strawberries to Farro and Cremini Mushroom Risotto, Roasted Maple Brussels Sprouts, and Pistachio-Crusted Chicken make taking care of your brain simple and delicious.
The MIND diet is also easier to follow than, say, the Mediterranean diet, which calls for daily consumption of fish and three to four daily servings of each of fruits and vegetables, Morris said.
What’s brain-healthy, what’s not?
The MIND diet has 15 dietary components, including 10 “brain-healthy food groups:”
The five unhealthy groups are:
The MIND diet includes at least three servings of whole grains, a salad and one other vegetable every day — along with a glass of wine. It also involves snacking most days on nuts and eating beans every other day or so, poultry and berries at least twice a week and fish at least once a week. Dieters must limit eating the designated unhealthy foods, especially butter (less than 1 tablespoon a day), cheese, and fried or fast food (less than a serving a week for any of the three), to have a real shot at avoiding the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s, according to the study.
Take heart—cognitive decline does not have to be your destiny. With recipes for every occasion, easy-to-understand science, and vital information about vitamins, dietary fats, alcohol, caffeine, and more, Diet for the MIND is your road map to a healthy brain—for life.