The MIND diet was developed by a nutritional epidemiologist named Martha Clare Morris who wanted to establish an eating plan to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s in older adults. MIND is an acronym for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. Meals predominantly consist of dark leafy green vegetables, other vegetables, berries, legumes, nuts, and whole grains along with fish and poultry. Olive oil and wine are also recommended. Seniors who adopt the diet may experience several benefits.
1. Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk
Rush University Medical Center reports that the MIND diet reduces a senior’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by more than 50 percent. Older adults who follow the diet plan less strictly are still able to reduce their Alzheimer’s risk by 35 percent. The longer older adults stick with the diet, the more benefits they experience.
A professional caregiver with training in nutrition can be a wonderful source of information and encouragement as your loved one adopts new healthy habits, including eating more nutritious foods. Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust Colorado Springs elderly home care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life.
2. Boost Cognitive Function
Researchers followed 960 seniors for nine years. At the end of the study, they found that the brains of the older adults who had followed the MIND diet were the equivalent of more than seven years younger compared to their peers who hadn’t followed the diet. The senior MIND dieters also scored higher on various cognitive function tests compared to their counterparts. The tests evaluated each older adult’s memory, perceptual speed, and problem-solving abilities, among other functions. MIND diet followers also demonstrated they were better able to learn and retain information. The cognitive benefits of the diet are attributed to the dark green vegetables, which provide carotenoids, flavonoids, folate, and vitamin E. Berries are included in the diet because of their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics. The combination of foods is plentiful in nutrients and protects neurons while interfering with free radical damage.
3. Protect Brain Volume
In another study, published in an issue of Neurology, more than 400 older adults over the age of 70 underwent imaging studies over the course of three years. The scans revealed that the seniors who had followed the MIND diet exhibited significantly less brain volume shrinkage compared to older adults who hadn’t adhered to the diet.
While caring for a loved one is rewarding, part of a healthy lifestyle for family caregivers involves self-care and making time to attend to their own wellbeing. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Colorado Springs, CO, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.
4. Manage Weight
Along with offering cognitive advantages, the MIND diet helps seniors maintain a healthy weight. The regimen is free of high-fat, high-salt, and highly sweetened and processed foods. A chronic diet of unhealthy foods leads to weight gain or makes it difficult for older adults to lose weight. However, the foods recommended by the MIND diet increase the body’s ability to use fuel and burn fat.
5. Promote Cardiovascular Health
The fish, olive oil, and nuts recommended by the MIND diet ensure seniors get a sufficient amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which protect the cardiovascular system, lower LDL cholesterol levels, and raise HDL cholesterol levels. The complete diet reduces the risk of developing vascular blood clots or plaques that raise blood pressure, stress the heart, and often lead to heart attacks or strokes.
A professional caregiver can provide additional support for your loved one’s efforts to adopt a healthier way of eating. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of at-home care. Colorado Springs families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. To hire a dedicated caregiver, call us at (719) 822-1229 today.