Eat your Brain Food!

It’s been a few weeks since I last blogged, but I’m back.  School has started for me so I will try to keep my posts as regular as possible.

This week I’m going to talk about a topic that has been a research interest since my undergraduate days.  Dementia. Specifically Alzheimer’s Disease.  Ever since I was a kid I have been interested in the brain.  I remember getting my appendix taken out in the 4th grade and was so intrigued by the doctors I wanted to become a neurosurgeon.  Why a neurosurgeon? I have no idea hopefully there wasn’t a neurosurgeon in the operating room for my appendectomy.  That was until I found out how much schooling docs need and I hung it up :-).  I never really lost that interest in brain health.  All through my undergrad I would do random research on Alzheimer’s Disease.  There is a great Ted Talk on Multiple Sclerosis and a doctor who reversed it through diet.  Check it out here.  It’s amazing and if it doesn’t change your outlook on nutrition and the power of food then I don’t know what will.

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A little background on Alzheimer’s Disease first.  It is one of the top 10 causes of death in Americans (as of 2010 it was #6).  It is one of the most expensive diseases to treat in the US as well costing about $287,000 in the last five years of life which is more than heart disease ($175k) the leading cause of death, and cancer (#173k) second leading cause of death in the US.  All these number’s are most likely expected to rise due to the increasing age in the baby boomers.  Alzheimer’s is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease for which there is no cure, BUT there has been overwhelming research that suggest that lifestyle adjustments can help protect, prevent, or in some cases reverse dementia particularly in the early stages.  So in my opinion there is hope just stick with me here.

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Now that you have a little background on the history of Alzheimer’s Disease, let’s move on to the nutrition portion.  There has been overwhelming research and science backing dietary lifestyles that may be beneficial to brain health and preventing and in some cases reverse dementia. The acronym to help you remember this dietary lifestyle is the “MIND Diet”. Although I hate the word “diet”, the MIND diet was voted #3 on best diets by US News for 2017. (DASH diet is #1, Mediterranean diet is #2)

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Basically this is a combination diet of 2 other very important proven effective diets.  The DASH diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and the Mediterranean Diet reflects the dietary patterns of those countries in the mediterranean (obviously) which has been proven to lower your risks for heart disease.

Consume more of:

  • Fish – One of the best protein sources out there.  The healthy fats in fish protect against inflammation and oxidative damage done to your whole body not just your brain.  Tip: Be sure to pick up the wild caught fish not farm-raised

  • Olives (Olive Oil in this case) – Same as fish they contain the healthy fats and act as antiinflammatory mechanisms against many different disease (alzheimer’s, diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, and strokes)

  • Red Wine – 1 4 oz glass of red wine daily has been shown to be beneficial.

  • Nuts – Again another source of health fats, good source of protein, and super easy to pack as snacks.  Check out my snack list for a list of good snacks

  • Green Leafy Vegetables – The micronutrients in dark green leafy vegetables are amazing for you.  There are literally thousands or nutrients in the dark vegetables that even we don’t know about yet.  Go back and watch the ted talk she talks all about it.

Avoid:

  • Red Meat
  • Processed Food
  • Fried Foods
  • Dessert

This is definitely not an all inclusive list on the MIND diet, just something to get you started.  If you would like more information or want something more personalized, feel free to contact me. Hopefully my posts will be more regular from here on out. Talk to you next time.

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