The Memory Diet

For Beyond 50's "Natural Healing" talks, listen to an interview with Judi Zucker.  The sister half of the "Double Energy Twins," she will discuss about a powerful, plant-based diet, based on the Mediterranean Intervention Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) Diet, that can fight Alzheimer's, reducing it by as much as 53%.  The prepared foods recommended are brain-boosting that is free of gluten and sugar.  The twins also teach about guidelines for setting up a mindful kitchen. 

AGEs & Cooking Methods

The MIND Diet was developed, based on a study by Rush University Medical Center and is a hybrid of the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. 

Cognitive decline is directly related to a diet high in glycotoxins called AGEs (advanced glycation end products).  It's naturally formed by the body when fats or proteins combine with sugars (glycation).

The 150 plant-based, brain-healthy foods recommended are cooked in low heat to prevent AGEs that result from high temperature (from grilling, roasting, or broiling), low moisture, and acidified environment commonly found in traditional cooking and highly processed foods.  This can contribute to many chronic diseases, including Alzheimer's and Dementia from brain plaque.

Cooking the MIND Diet way is with moist heat, using shorter cooking times, and cooking at lower temperatures (250 degrees or lower) through steaming or baking, and by the use of acidic ingredients such as lemon or apple cider vinegar.

As a comparison, animal-derived foods like meat and poultry that's cooked in high temperatures are high in AGE versus cooked vegetables, fruits and whole grains cooked in lower temperatures with far less AGEs.

Types of Foods Recommended

To prevent cognitive decline, the MIND Diet is based on eating a plant-based diet that is free of refined sugar, processed foods and gluten.

According to the Zucker twins, the recommended foods to eat that promote brain health consists of the following:

 - A daily helping of leafy greens, vegetables, berries, seeds, nuts, beans, and whole grains that are fresh, local and organic;

 - Dining on a moderate amount of fish and chicken;

 - Eating between seven to eight colors from plant-based sources daily (called nutrition rainbow) due to their high content of phytonutrients that are low in AGEs and found in the pigments of many colorful fruits and vegetables;

 - Adding oils such as monounsaturated fats that have high ketone values (derivatives of fat that are the only other fuel source aside from glucose for the brain to function), like olive, coconut, macadamia, and avocado oils.  The other "friendly oils" are polyunsaturated fats found in avocado, corn, flax, grape seed, safflower, sesame, sunflower, and walnut oils;

 - Complementing the plant-based foods with brain herbs and spices, such as turmeric, black pepper, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, rosemary and sage;

 - And, drinking green tea, especially Matcha Tea, due to its very high level of antioxidants and chlorophyll to enhance brain function.

For sweetening your foods, the Zucker twins suggest fresh fruit and unprocessed sweeteners such as raw honey, pure maple syrup, and organic coconut sugar.

Just as important as the kind of foods to buy is the cookware used.  The best to use are glass bakeware, stainless steel, cast iron pots and pans, as well as stainless steel and glass mixing bowls.  

Maintaining Your Memory

In addition to following the MIND Diet, another preventative measure is regular exercise, which can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by 50 percent.  A good amount is two and a half hours (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity weekly that can raise your heart rate and make you sweaty.


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