Many people tend to see food as nourishment for the body. While the nutrients afforded by whole foods are essential for the survival and function of our bodies, the importance of nutrition when it comes to mental health is often overlooked. Enter the MIND diet: a nutrition plan that blends aspects of the Mediterranean diet with that of the DASH diet that is designed to improve cognitive ability.
Go nuts (five or more servings per week)
Fat is most definitely IN with the MIND diet, and especially so when it comes to nuts. Almonds, cashews and pistachios are all great sources of monounsaturated fat, and consumption of such foods has been found to reduce the level of inflammatory markers in the body. As inflammation of the brain can lead to dementia, you can see how having more nuts in your life can be a good thing.
Get green with leafy vegetables (six or more servings per week)
All vegetables are known to have a high number of anti-oxidants and are ridiculously nutrient-dense; even more so in the case of leafy vegetables. The deeper the green, the better the nutrition! These vegetables also contribute a hefty dose of dietary fibre to your diet, which can help with toxin removal. Also, try to keep your vegetable consumption as whole as possible, as opposed to taking them in juice form.
Eat your fish (one or more meals per week)
Besides being a source of protein, fish is also rich in nutrients that are known to help improve your cognitive functions. A famous nutrient for this purpose is omega-3 fatty acids, which is abundant in fishes such as salmon and tuna. Go for the fatty cuts too if you have the taste buds for it!
Pick a grain (three or more servings a day)
Whole grains don’t just provide you with carbohydrates – they also provide nutrients such as magnesium and selenium that can have a positive effect on brain health. It goes without saying that one should avoid processed and refined carbohydrates whenever possible, due to them being mostly stripped of their nutrition while carrying unwanted additives. Great choices for grains include raw oats, sorghum, millet and amaranth.
Eating can be a pleasure for both your mind and your body! Practicing the MIND diet should not only help to improve your cognitive functions, but also help to maintain and better your mood. In fact, researchers claim that following the MIND diet reduces the risk of contracting Alzheimer’s by 35 to 53 percent. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, so why not go for it?