Role of Diet in Brain Health
Somebody has wisely said that “what we eat, we become.” Although food is a means of providing energy to the body, it also has various other abilities like protecting the body from different diseases, preventing dysfunction, etc.
Our brain is said to be the central system of the body because it carries out all the functions, whether it be of moving body or critical thinking.
Now, when we say our body needs nutritious food, it means that we should consume food that directly or indirectly helps our brain to coordinate with different organs and carry out the mechanism smoothly.
The effect of the food that we eat has an impact on our brain. If we consume non-nutritious food, it leads to nervous system disorders. Healthy food choices are necessary to avoid nutritional disturbances that would further result in neurologic disorders. We all can easily observe the short term impacts of food on our brain—for instance, a sugar rush after a candy munching or too heavy sweets. But we need to understand that these foods also have a long term impact on our body. Also, our diet not just shapes our body but our brain as well. Our diet affects oxidative stress in our bodies. Oxidative stress is one of the leading causes of the aging process.
Ageing involves the brain function slower and even cause memory loss. That is why it is indispensable to keep a close check on the food we eat and how much nutrients it is providing to our brain. With the help of paying close attention to this, we can control how our brain can perform- physically and mentally.
What do we mean by keeping a close check on the food we eat for better brain health? It merely means following a healthy diet that consists of abundant nutrients that the brain can use to function smoothly. MIND Diet is considered as one of the effective meal plans that can avoid disruption of a person’s brain ability to function independently.
The MIND diet combines components of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets to create the Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet. MIND Diet is the best meal to protect the cognitive function, and below are the suggestions of food to be eaten or cut down to maintain mental health:
Diet plan servings should include:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Other vegetables
- Whole grains
- Olive oil
Diet plan should strictly limit the servings of:
- Red meat
- Fried Food
All the food mentioned above suggestions has been found to have a link between brain ageing. And more importantly, MIND Diet has been proved to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, heart diseases and strokes.
How do MIND Diet works?
The Mind diet focuses on the intake of food that has immense benefits in terms of various nutrients that help the brain to function smoothly, reduce cognitive decline, boost memory and reduce ageing brain responsiveness. As MIND Diet revolves around antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods, it helps to reduce oxidative stress and build-up of abundant toxic proteins (free radicals) in the body.
The food components exactly help to boost the effects of those elements over brain functioning and helps to smoother cognitive functioning and boosts memory too.
Benefits of MIND Diet w.r.t Brain Functions and Memory
It is very much essential to maintain the brain healthy by preventing any brain cell damage. The most common disease that leads to degeneration of the brain cells and results in dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. The disease develops memory impairment and lack of brain’s fundamental ability to coordinate with the body to carry out daily tasks.
Let us understand how the components of MIND Diet are helpful for the smooth functioning of the brain and boosting memory. The dietary components in MIND Diet are:
Rich in nutrients: Each food in the MIND Diet has its benefits for mental health. Let’s see one by one how they add up to smooth mental functioning:
a) Leafy and other vegetables: Provides brain-protecting elements such as folate, Vitamin E, lutein, etc. These components lower the risk of dementia and cognitive decline.
b) Nuts: Nuts are packed with anti-inflammatory fats and help the brain to age slowly. Studies have shown that regular consumption of Nuts has younger brain functioning.
c) Berries: Consist of high levels of flavonoids that result in the slowest rate of cognitive impairment.
d) Beans: Known as plant protein powerhouses help in better memory preservation and thinking skills.
e) Whole grains: Contains high carbohydrates and benefits brain-boosting.
f) Fish: Provides anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats and benefits mild memory loss.
g) Poultry: Provides vitamins and minerals used in brain functioning and also aids cognitive performance.
h) Olive Oil: Optimises brain health by controlling blood sugar, pressure, and flow with vitamin E.
i) Wine: Moderate drinking/ 1 wine glass daily can help to delay dementia, and its polyphenol content preserves brain functioning by increasing blood circulation efficiency
Act as antioxidants: The dietary components of MIND Diet decreases oxidative stress and inflammation. Oxidative stress is caused by free radicals accumulation leading to cell damage. The MIND Diet associates with lower levels of oxidative stress and inflammation because the components are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. For instance, Vitamin E in olive oil, leafy vegetables, and anti-inflammatory fats in nuts benefit brain function by preventing oxidative stress.
Reduces protein fragments: MIND Diet benefits the brain by decreasing harmful Beta-amyloid proteins. These protein fragments are naturally found in the body and accumulate and form plaques and build in the brain, leading to a communication disruption between brain cells, causing the death of the brain cells. Further, studies have shown that these plaques are the primary cause of Alzheimer’s disease.
The antioxidants and vitamins present in the MIND Diet prevent the formation of Beta-amyloid plaques.
Limits brain bashers: MIND Diet suggests cut down on the servings of few foods. Let’s understand the reasoning:
Sweets: Most of the sweet products bought from the store contain high levels of stripped carbs and pro-inflammatory oils that spike blood sugar levels and lowers insulin processing. Insulin wastage is one of the causes that increase the risk of dementia. In the case of homemade sweets, occasional consumption can be alright, but sugars have always shown direct relation with blood flows and insulin.
Red Meat: Meets like Beef and pork are inflammatory and cause inflammation in your body too. The increase in inflammation in the body has been linked with memory loss.
Butter and Margarine: Occasional consumption of butter is alright. But Margarine is high in omega 6 Fatty acids as they promote inflammation throughout the body and brain too.
Cheese: Cheese is one type of dairy product and is made from excess processing. Processed foods develop fats around organs and result in the decline of brain tissue. They also tend to increase brain inflammation and memory impairment.
Fried Food: Fast Food, Junk food are just the synonyms of Fried food. They are built-in high levels of stripped carbs and inflammatory oils. These foods also increase obesity and lead to slower functioning of the brain with body cells
MIND Diet’s components highly promote memory boosting and brain functioning if followed correctly. Besides, you can also opt for GenBrain supplement pills that enhance memory power, focus, and increase mental clarity and further prevents memory loss and decreases the risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The MIND diet is created in such a way that it helps to prevent the damage to brain cells and slow functioning of the brain that can occur in a human due to the ageing process. The dietary components of MIND Diet encourage to include more veggies, nuts, cereal grains, seafood, etc.
That being said to be high in vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other antioxidant and anti-inflammatory elements. The consumption of these sections of food helps to stay active with a healthy brain—a diet plan with a serving proportion for a week along in all three meals of the day.
Healthy eating habit and good mental health cannot be achieved overnight. The diet can be followed even before your ageing process starts as it will only help you to keep your brains younger than your actual age. The combination of MIND Diet is linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.