Uno study conducted for 20 years confirms which diet delays cognitive decline, even in the presence of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Here’s what to eat what not
Food can help slow down the aging processes of the brain. It is a known principle, it may also apply to other organs, but now the confirmation arrives that a targeted diet can help reduce cognitive impairment. A team of American geriatricians and neurologists, in fact, has developed the so-called dieta Mind and then he verified it the long-term benefits for the brain, looking at a group of patients followed for over 20 years. The results showed the protective effect of some foods.
What the Mind diet involves
For the Mind diet to be effective it indicates to consume three servings of whole grains per day, one with green leafy vegetables and another with vegetables to taste. Another pillar is the presence of legumes, the benefits of which have also emerged from other researches, but which should be on the table one day every two. It shouldn’t be missing either white poultry meat, while the red one should be limited to no more than once a week. Fish is provided, but always once a week. Greater limitations are triggered when it comes to fats like butter (maximum one and a half tablespoons per day).
On the other hand, sweets, fatty cheeses, fast food and fried foods are almost forbidden. Finally, it is admitted a glass of red wine a day. Very recommended, then, are the berries. «These foods, as well as the fruit for snacks, they are intended because the action is recognized antioxidant, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, ”says the nutrition expert.
The starting point for fine-tuning the diet were some observations on the effects of food. For example, the five classes deemed unhealthy include fried food, margarine, sweets, fatty cheeses, fast food and red meat. So far there would be no big surprises, were it not that the experts have gone further, developing a real scheme, which in some way combines the principles of Mediterranean diet, still considered the best overall and the anti-aging one par excellence at a general level, and the Dash diet (acronym for Dietary approaches to stop hypertension, which has been studied to reduce hypertension. What was born is a new model: “Unlike the Mediterranean, this diet provides precise indications on the use of whole foods and is certainly more restrictive” explains Michela Barrichella, Head of UOS Dietetics and Nutrition of the ASST Gaetano Pini CTO of Milan.
Because certain foods slow down the aging of the brain
The answer is simple, but not for this reason to be underestimated: “The protective effect is obtained with the introduction of folate, vitamin E, Omega 3, carotenoids and flavonoids, of which the foods included in the Mind diet are rich. Omega 3s, for example, improve attention, while folic acid improves oxygenation and this helps keep the brain younger. Antioxidant substances, on the other hand, fight free radicals and have an anti-inflammatory action, which is known to contribute to the aging of cells and their decay – explains Barrichella – On the other hand, saturated fats are limited, which are associated with damage to the microcirculation and a greater risk of cognitive impairment ». “We can deduce that the Mind diet (but also the Mediterranean one for the same shared principles), it is an important diet in prevention»Concludes the expert.
What the study is based on
The studio, called Rush Memory and Aging Project (Map), aimed to verify the effectiveness of a specific diet, designed to “protect” the brain from dementia and cognitive decline that arise over the years. The researchers selected a sample of 600 people and monitored it from 1997 until their death, verifying some parameters even after death, by means of an autopsy. All the subjects involved had been subjected to regular checks and, starting from 2004, their diet was monitored with a questionnaire: the goal was to understand the presence in their diet of certain foods and in particular how often they ate 144, divided in 15 classes.
Of these, some were considered an excellent ally for the brain, while others were considered potential enemies. At the end of the study it was possible to observe that none of those who followed the principles of the Mind diet had found memory deficits. In addition, an anti-aging action and a brake on cognitive decline had emerged for all, regardless of the presence in the brain of beta amyloid plaques, which are considered to be the main contributing cause of Alzheimer’s.. Experts deduced that even in the case of brain damage, this type of diet protects against memory problems and cognitive impairment.