GOOD DIET, HEALTHY MIND: Incremental changes to diet can help slow down cognitive decline.
GOOD DIET, HEALTHY MIND: Incremental changes to diet can help slow down cognitive decline.

Top 10 foods to keep dementia at bay

SLOWING down the prevalence of dementia in our ageing population could come down to adopting the relatively simple MIND Diet.

Co-created by Rush University epidemiologist, Professor Martha Clare Morris, has found a good diet could be good for your brain. It's not a new message, but what is new is the combination of the highly recommended Mediterranean Diet along with Professor Morris's DASH, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

The diet has 15 components - five foods to limit and 10 food groups to choose food from.

What to limit

  • Red meat and red meat products such as deli meats and bacon - no more than three servings per week
  • Butter and trans-fat margarine - less than one tablespoon a day
  • Pastries and other sweets - no more than five servings a week
  • Fried or fast foods - no more than once a week
  • Whole fat cheese - less than two tablespoons per week.

What to enjoy

  • Green leafy vegetables -- three servings every day
  • Other types of vegetables - three servings every day
  • Nuts - daily snacks
  • Berries such as blueberries and strawberries
  • Beans and other legumes
  • Whole grains - three servings every day
  • Seafood - one meal a week
  • Poultry - two or more servings per week
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Wine - modest amount.

"The Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diets have been vigorously tested and shown to be important to keeping one healthy, especially from cardiovascular conditions," Professor Morris told Dementia Matters.

"We have modified the basic components (of those diets) to incorporate the nutrients that we knew were important to the brain.  

"That's way we have called it the MIND Diet - the Mediterranean DASH intervention from neuro-degenerative delay."  

Where a person finds a complete lifestyle change hard, if they can adhere closely to this diet, it's possible it will help reduce the risk of dementia.  

"Even those that moderately followed the diet, had a 35% reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer's," Professor Morris said.  

"Incorporating a healthy diet and exercise into your lifestyle, puts you in control of limiting all sorts of bad health conditions and diseases that might come your way."  

To find out more about this diet you can purchase the MIND Diet Cookbook: Quick and Delicious Recipes for Enhancing Brain Function and Helping Prevent Alzheimer's and Dementia online from various book outlets.

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