How The Mind Diet Is Beneficial For a Healthy & Active Brain

Mind Diet

When it comes to human anatomy, everyone should know that the brain the most important organ. As you all know, the brain is the one that coordinates and controls reactions and actions, also enables you to feel and have memories.

Though brain is not as heavy as you think, it is known to be the most complex organ which is made up by many parts bonded together to form the center control of your body.

What are the Parts of the Brain: Looking at the Anatomy

Since the brain is the most important part of every living things’ bodies, then there is at least a little knowledge that you should know about its parts.

  • Cranium – Bony covering that protects the brain, composed of three layers of tissue:
    • Pia Mater – innermost
    • Arachnoid membrane – middle layer
    • Dura Mater – outermost
  • Cerebrum[1] – The largest part of the brain which is located in the front. It is responsible for:
    • Learning
    • Movement
    • Emotions
    • Body temperature
    • Problem-solving
    • Touch
    • Reasoning
    • Vision
    • Judgment
    • Hearing
  • Brainstem – Main control panel, middle of the brain. It controls vital functions like:
    • Hunger
    • Breathing
    • Relaying sensory messages – noise, heat, pain
    • Consciousness
    • Movement of the mouth and eyes
    • Cardiac function
    • Swallowing
    • Involuntary muscle movements
  • Cerebellum – Located at the back of the brain and contains more nerve cells than the rest of other brain parts[2]. It is responsible for:
    • Maintaining equilibrium, posture, and balance
    • Voluntary muscle movement
    • Fine motor skills
  • Ventricular System – Part that provides nourishment to the brain, is in the form of fluid-filled cavities
    • Cranial Nerves – Responsible for specific functions in the body[3]
    • Olfactory – Smell
    • Hypoglossal – Tongue movement
    • Optic – Vision
    • Accessory – Shoulder and neck muscle
    • Oculomotor – Eyelid opening, eye movements
    • Vagus – Taste, swallowing
    • Trochlear – Eye movements
    • Glossopharyngeal – Swallowing, taste
    • Trigeminal – Chewing, facial sensations
    • Vestibulocochlear – Balance, hearing
    • Abducens – Eye movements
    • Facial – Facial expressions, taste

What Can Happen with your Habits?

Active Mind

Knowing how important your brain it would make you think that it should be taken care well and do the habits that will give your whole being an advantage. But even if how hard you try on keeping it healthy, there will always be a time that something will hit it and give you some problems.

One common brain disorders that you might have will be under neurodegenerative diseases. This causes your brain functions to deteriorate in no time. It can cause confusion and even change your personality as well as destroy your brain’s nerves and tissues.

The common symptoms for neurodegenerative diseases would include

  • Mood changes
  • Memory loss
  • A loss of inhibition
  • Apathy
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety

Common neurodegenerative diseases are the following

  • Alzheimer’s – Is the most common form of memory loss or dementia. It was named to the one who discovered it, Dr. Alois Alzheimer, in 1906[4]. The biggest factor that contributes to the appearance of this disease is aging but can happen to someone way younger.
  • Symptoms
    • distrust of others
    • paranoia
    • confusion about times and places
    • mood swings
    • unable to find words with speaking
    • difficulty to respond in everyday problems
    • misplacing thing used regularly
    • difficulty in numerical calculations
    • personality change
    • forgetting that you had forgotten
    • new irritability
    • repeating things over and over
    • making bad decisions
    • difficulty organizing thoughts

Mind

  • Huntington’s – Hereditary condition that results in breaking down of the nerve cells. It will affect your cognitive abilities, emotions, and physical movements. There is no recorded cure but there are ways for the affected to cope up with symptoms and the disease.

There are two types of this disease: adult and early onset. Adult-onset usually shows symptoms when people ages 30s or 40s while early onset starts in childhood or adolescence.

  • Symptoms of Adult Onset:
    • poor coordination
    • depression
    • minor involuntary movements
    • irritability
    • psychosis
    • hallucinations
    • the decline in cognitive abilities
    • chorea or uncontrolled twitching
    • speech changes
    • difficulty walking
    • personality changes
    • trouble speaking and swallowing
    • memory loss
    • confusion
  • Symptoms to Early Onset:
    • the sudden decline in school performance
    • drooling
    • seizures
    • clumsiness
    • rigid muscles
    • slurred speech, frequent falling, slow movements
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) – Affects spinal cord and brain, causes a loss of control[5] to the voluntary tissues. It also affects the limb movements, swallowing, and controlling speech. This is also called Lou Gehrig’s disease since it was diagnosed first to the famous baseball player, Lou Gehrig, in 1939[6].
  • Symptoms:
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Slurred speech
    • Excess saliva
    • Hoarseness
    • Tongue atrophy
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Emotional lability – excessive emotional reactions
  • Parkinson’s – Also called Parkinsonism, which is marked by a presence of certain recognizable symptoms. The severity of symptoms is classified by using the Hoehn and Yahr rating scale.
  • Symptoms:
    • Stiffness in limbs
    • Uncontrollable tremors and shaking
    • Balance difficulties, eventual problems standing up
    • Bradykinesia – slowed movement

The MIND Diet

The MIND Diet

When it comes of taking care of your brain as well to prevent dementia, there is a known diet which is designed to maintain your good brain function as you age – MIND Diet. This combines Mediterranean and DASH diet which will create a dietary pattern which focuses on brain health[7].

Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) aims in reducing dementia as well as the decline of the brain’s health which occurs as you age and gets older. This combines the Mediterranean and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.

How and What to Eat for Healthy Mind?

When you start with the MIND Diet, there are required foods for you to eat. This is not a typical diet meal plan you follow since you are acknowledged to eat the TEN FOODS they propose.

1. Green, leafy vegetables – Need to aim for six or more servings per week to include salads, cooked greens, spinach, and kale.
2. All other vegetables – In addition to eating green leafy vegetables, try adding or eating another vegetable at least once a day. Choose non-starchy vegetables for it has lots of nutrients with a low number of calories.
3. Berries – Eat at least twice a week. This is not limited to strawberries but also blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries which is the best antioxidant.

Nuts

4. Nuts – Five servings of nuts should be consumed each week. There is no specifications of the kind of nuts to consume but is it probably choose the best variety of nut to obtain varieties of nutrients.
5. Olive oil – Use olive oil as your cooking oil.
6. Whole grain – Aim for three servings daily. Better choose whole grains like 100% whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal.
7. Fish – Consume once a week. You better choose a fatty fish like mackerel, tuna, trout, sardines, and salmon. These fishes are known for their high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
8. Beans – Include this in your diet at least four meals every week. You should opt for soybeans, lentils, and beans.
9. Poultry – It could be turkey or chicken, to be eaten at least twice a week. Note that having fried chicken is not recommended in this diet even if it is still a chicken.
10. Wine – Aim for more than one glass daily either it is red or white wine. But researchers focused on red wine since it has a compound called resveratrol which helps to protect you against Alzheimer’s disease[8].

If there is food that you should consume and eat to maintain better brain function, there are also foods that you need to avoid and should not be included on your MIND diet.

Bad Food Good Food

1. Butter and Margarine – Try eating less than one tablespoon daily. As an alternative to better avoid it is to try using olive oil as the primary cooking fat. You can also dip your bread into olive oil with herbs
2. Cheese – Limit the consumption of cheese to less than once per week
3. Red Meat – No more than three servings per week. Red meat would include all lamb, pork, beef, and other products made from these meats
4. Fried Food – Do not encourage yourself to eat fried food, especially ones that are served in fast-food restaurants. Have your consumption to less than once per week
5. Pastries and Sweets – Includes processed junk foods or any desserts you can think of like candies, donuts, snack cakes, brownies, cookies, or ice creams. Try to limit eating this to no more than four times a week.

Meal Plan: What Course to Take

For first-timers, it is really hard to decide on what food to include in a specific meal if you will follow the MIND diet. It might give you a problem to balance everything and to break it down for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. To help you with your meal plan, here is what an expert in MIND diet had introduced for a one week course.

Monday

  • Breakfast: Greek yogurt with raspberries with sliced almond toppings
  • Lunch: Mediterranean salad with olive oil-based dressing, whole-wheat pita, grilled chicken
  • Dinner: burrito bowl with guacamole, salsa, grilled chicken, fajita vegetables, black beans, and brown rice

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: scrambled eggs, wheat toast with almond butter
  • Lunch: carrots, blackberries, grilled chicken sandwich
  • Dinner: brown rice, side salad with olive oil-based dressing, grilled salmon

Wednesday

Style Breakfast

  • Breakfast: hard-boiled eggs, steel-cut oatmeal with strawberries
  • Lunch: grilled chicken, Mexican-style salad with mixed corn, red onion, black beans, mixed green, and olive oil based dressing
  • Dinner: brown rice, chicken and vegetable stir-fry

Thursday

  • Breakfast: Greek yogurt with banana and peanut butter
  • Lunch: baked trout, black-eyed peas, collard greens
  • Dinner: whole-wheat spaghetti with marinara sauce and turkey meatballs, side salad with olive oil based dressing

Friday

  • Breakfast: omelet with onions and peppers, wheat toast with avocado
  • Lunch: chili made with ground turkey
  • Dinner: wheat dinner roll, side salad, oven-roasted potatoes, Greek-seasoned baked chicken

Saturday

  • Breakfast: overnight oats with strawberries
  • Lunch: Pinto beans, brown rice, fish tacos on whole wheat tortillas
  • Dinner: cucumber and tomato salad, chicken gyro on whole-wheat pita

Sunday

Breakfast

  • Breakfast: peanut butter, sliced apple, spinach frittata
  • Lunch: carrots and celery with hummus, tuna salad sandwich on wheat bread
  • Dinner: lentils, brown rice, curry chicken

This is a perfect meal plan to start in MIND diet. This has the 10 foods that you need to eat as well as meet the recommendations of how much serving it should have in a week. You can drink a glass of wine with each dinner will complete your MIND diet meal plan.

MIND diet had been introduced and published as an official paper in 2015 so there is still not much research done to investigate its effects. However, with the existing research, people who patronized MIND diet had seen some benefits.

It had cut their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 35%[9]. Some other results shown is that there is a slower decline in brain function.

This diet plan is introduced and been approved to help people prevent suffering dementia that goes with aging. This makes you follow the meal course of consuming wine, poultry, beans, fish, olive oil, whole grains, nuts, berries, and vegetables.

Brains Brocoli

It is important to follow the MIND diet recommendations since the food that they introduce to be included on this diet meal plan contains nutrients that promotes good brain health, possible reduction of oxidative stress, the formation of beta-amyloid plaques, and inflammation.

Conclusion

Since MIND diet is a combination of the well-known Mediterranean and DASH diet, it would be a great success in the near future and research will show how important to follow it to gain health benefits all at once.

This is a great approach for each and everyone, from the person of all ages since you would not know how advanced disease could be by the food you certainly have a habit of eating now.

Better start changing your eating lifestyle and follow the MIND diet since it is simple to do and not just beneficial for a person having dementia, but for everyone.

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In Post Image: Shutterstock.com & bebrainfit.com
Author

Contributor : Cognitive Health Digest Staff (Cognitive Health Digest)

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