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Forgetful? Eat ‘MIND’ foods to help with age-related memory loss and dementia

Nutrition experts reveal the ‘MIND diet’ AKA… the types of food you should eat to help increase cognitive function as you age.

Before we start: this is a warning for readers triggered by food patterns and ‘diets’.

The word ‘diet’ as it’s mentioned in this article is not used to promote a specific agenda, but rather to report on a new study that used the term ‘diet’ in relation to brain health.

Let’s start…

Forgetfulness might happen to all of us… but over time, memory can deteriorate and sometimes, it’s because of a diseases such as, dementia or Alzheimer’s.

To recap, dementia is a condition characterised by progressive or persistent loss of intellectual functioning, especially with memory impairment, personality changes, and brain decay.

And Alzheimer’s causes the brain to shrink and brain cells to die over time.

According to experts, around 55 million people have dementia.

And 4.4 million people have Alzheimer’s.

Because dementia and Alzheimer’s might happen as you age, it’s often not easily curable (imagine if we could go back in time, right?!)

But, as the saying goes, you are what you eat… and so is your brain.

That’s why scientists developed the ‘MIND diet.’

What’s the ‘MIND diet?’

Dr. Martha Clare Morris and colleagues at Rush University Medical developed the ‘MIND diet’ in 2015.

The study found that specific foods helped with neurodegenerative delay and reduces diseases like dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other conditions with motor-impairments.

The focus is on increasing your intake of high-nutrient foods — such as vegetables, nuts, berries, whole grains, fish and poultry — and minimizing high-sodium foods, meats, fried foods, pastries and sweets.

Catherine Christie, Ph.D.

The ‘MIND diet’ blends two existing eating patterns which are:

1) The Mediterranean lifestyle, which is based on the eating habits of people who live in Mediterranean countries and has been shown to improve cardiovascular health.

2) The DASH eating plan, which was created by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to help reduce blood pressure and improve heart health.

The premise is that you can reduce cognitive decline with a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets and by adding specific foods like leafy greens and berries.

Lisa Young, Ph.D.

Young also says…

Everyone could benefit from the MIND diet. There are no downsides.

Lisa Young, Ph.D.

So, let’s see what types of food the ‘MIND diet’ is made of…

1) Leafy, green vegetables

Add spinach, kale, rocket, and collard greens – these are filled with nutrients that aid cognitive function.

Suggested serving: about seven servings, weekly


2) Other vegetables

It’s recommended to eat at least one “other” nutrient-rich vegetable — such as asparagus, beetroot, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, eggplant, okra or squash.

Suggested serving: at least one serving, daily

Image: © zerbor/
Image: © zerbor/

3) Wholegrains

Add wholegrains — such as brown and wild rice, bulgur, farro, oats, quinoa, rye, spelt, and teff to your eating plan because they’re loaded with brain-healthy minerals and vitamins.

Suggested serving: at least three servings, daily

Photo by Pierre Bamin on Unsplash
Photo by Pierre Bamin on Unsplash

4) Nuts

It’s suggested to add nuts like almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios or walnuts to your eating pattern.

Serving size: at least five servings, weekly


5) Berries

Yip! Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and acai berries are all packed with antioxidants and health-promoting phytochemicals which are good for your brain and physical health.

Serving size: at least two servings, weekly


6) Beans

Yes, beans and legumes like black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, white beans, soybeans or lentils are a solid source of protein and sources of B vitamins, which promote brain health.

Serving size: at least three servings, weekly

Photo by Irene Scott for AusAID. (13/2529)
Photo by Irene Scott for AusAID. (13/2529)

7) Seafood and Poultry

Fish and poultry are lean sources of protein and some are rich in omega-3 fatty acids too like salmon and tuna, promoting good heart and brain health. Avoid frying these proteins for maximum nutritional benefits.

Serving size: at least one serving of fish and at least two servings of poultry, weekly


8) Wine

Read it again… yes, it’s on the list!

There’s some evidence showing that red or white wine can be beneficial for brain health (in moderation, of course).

Serving size: one glass, daily

© anaumenko/
© anaumenko/

And that’s the list of foods that can increase your brain health.

Of course, there are foods to avoid too.

Because of the saturated and trans fats they contain, researchers advise decreasing:

1) Butter/margarine

2) Cheese

3) Fried foods

4) Desserts and pastries

5) Red and processed meats

It’s important to note that there are no hard rules for adhering to the ‘MIND diet’.

Just make mindful choices about the types of foods you’re eating and the impact it might have on your brain over time.

This article first appeared on KFM : Forgetful? Eat ‘MIND’ foods to help with age-related memory loss and dementia

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