By: Janet Hunt
Besides exercise, proper nutrition keeps an aging brain healthy. The Mediterranean dDiet and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) dDiet are both known for their cardiovascular health benefits. T The Mediterranean ddiet emphasizes eating mostly plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts; replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil; using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods; limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month; and eating fish and poultry at least twice a week. The DASH diet includes lots of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. The DASH diet also includes some fish, poultry and legumes, and encourages a small amount of nuts and seeds a few times a week. You can eat red meat, sweets and fats in small amounts. The DASH diet is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and total fat. Recently, researchers have combined pieces of both the Mediterranean dDiet and the DASH dDiet to emphasize foods with the greatest impact on brain health. This is called MIND (Mediterranean-DASH dDiet for Neurodegenerative Delay).

Two studies with more than 900 adults, found that by sticking to the MIND diet, cognitive decline was slowed by as much as 53%. By strictly following the MIND diet principles, the best results were achieved. But even following the diet partially showed directly proportional results.

The MIND diet emphasizes 10 brain-healthy food groups: green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil, and moderate amounts of wine. It avoids foods from five unhealthy groups: red meats, butter and margarine, cheeses, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast foods.

If you or someone you know enjoys cookbooks, several excellent cookbooks for the MIND diet are available.

Additional healthy holiday gift ideas might include:

  • Personal tTraining sSessions
  • Gym membership
  • Weight Watcher membership
  • Fitness shoes/hiking boots
  • Fitness clothing/swimwear
  • Yoga mat
  • Activity tracker
  • Workout music

For more answers to fitness questions, call Janet Hunt at 256-614-3530.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment

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