Page 7 - Senior Times South Central Michigan - August 2017 - 24-08
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What might be surprising to some, nonetheless very exciting, is that we may indeed have greater control over prevent- ing dementia than previously thought. Results of a University of California study indicated a 30-35% lower risk of cognitive impairment during aging when the MIND diet was followed. Even more encouraging is that is a lifestyle choice; something that we have control over.
“Healthy older adults who fol- lowed the Mediterranean or the simi- lar MIND diet lowered their risk of dementia by a third.”
This from the new research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International conference in London in July. Research previously completed at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center, Wake Forest School of Medicine, and several others support this result as well.
According to lead author Claire McEvoy, of the University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine, "Eating a healthy plant-based diet is associated with better cognitive function and around 30% to 35% lower risk of cognitive impairment during aging."
Martha Clare Morris, ScD, a nutri- tional epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center, confirmed their similar results by indicating, “Following the MIND diet may be a way to preserve the brain with age and to prevent dementia.” Adding that the MIND diet highlights the foods and nutrients shown through previous scientific literature to be associ- ated with dementia prevention.
"MIND" is an acronym for Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. Both the Mediterranean and DASH diets have been found to reduce the risk for hypertension, myocardial infarction, and stroke. The concept is that with slight modifications a new hybrid diet could have beneficial outcomes for dementia as well.
The MIND diet has 15 dietary com- ponents, including 10 "brain-healthy" food groups and five unhealthy groups.
As for the brain-healthy foods, a per- son would need to eat at least three serv- ings of whole grains, a green leafy veg- etable, and one other vegetable each day, along with having a glass of wine. They would also need to snack most days on nuts, have beans every other day or so, and eat poultry and berries at least two times a week (berries are the only fruits allowed in the MIND diet), and fish at least once a week.
To stick to the MIND diet, a person has to limit intake of the designated unhealthy foods, especially butter (<1 tablespoon/day), sweets and pastries, whole fat cheese, and fried or fast food (<1 serving a week for any of the three).
It is important to note however, that each of these studies are observational
in nature, meaning they are based on individuals reporting what they ate. What is needed now is true empirical data from actually monitoring the actions of diet and the resulting change in risk or development of dementia-related symp- toms and whether cognition can at the very least be maintained and potentially improved. Possibly, the next step is the development of appropriate clinical trials that will seek to accomplish this and give previous repeated results the clout they deserve.
Not matter what, eating a healthier diet has known positive effects on other chronic conditions plaguing our seniors todays from heart disease, vascular dis- ease and high blood pressure to diabetes, bone density, and more.
What is certain is that nearly 20-30 percent of your caloric intake supports brain function. It only makes sense then that what we eat could be very important in how our brain functions.
The old adage, “You are what you eat,” may be more true than what many have given it credit for over the years. If necessary, be sure to consult with your physician before any significant change
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Senior Times - August 2017
Page 7
in diet. The bot- tom line is that the food we consume can be beneficial to our system or can cre- ate chal- lenges.
Larry L Wood, Manager
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