It is impossible to overstate the importance of the effect of what we put in our bodies. Eating healthy meals is an easy way to care for our bodies, especially our heart and cognitive health. Sometimes it’s as simple as replacing starches like pasta for wheat alternatives. Other times it’s a matter of specifically avoiding foods. At Kemper House, we provide a variety of meals that are geared specifically to taking care of our brains with numerous recipes that are sure to delight the taste buds.
It all starts with a specific philosophy about the foods we consume. At the Kemper Kitchen, we use the MIND Diet. MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative delay and was created by a team at Rush University Medical Center led by Martha Clare Morris, PhD. It is a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets which are considered to be some of the healthiest diets to follow. Both have shown positive impacts on health such as lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes among others. The MIND Diet, however, is specifically geared towards cognitive health and combines the parts of these diets that impact our brains.
The MIND Diet is pretty easy to follow, giving 10 foods to increase and 5 foods to avoid when preparing your meals:
|FOODS TO EAT||FOODS TO AVOID|
|Green, Leafy Vegetables||Olive Oil||Butter and Margarine|
|All other Vegetables||Whole Grains||Cheese|
|Poultry||Wine||Pastries and Sweets|
The MIND Diet doesn’t mean that only these foods are allowed, but highly encourages incorporating more of the foods to eat into your diet for the best results.
The MIND Diet has two major benefits for the brain according to researchers. While research has not been conclusive on how it works, it is clear that following the MIND Diet has a positive impact on cognitive health. Researchers believe that this diet may decrease oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. Essentially, it lowers the buildup of free radicals that can damage cells and, by proxy, decrease the bodies natural response to infection and damage, inflammation. By regulating these two processes, the brain is better able to function. Another way researchers believe the MIND Diet helps the brain is by reducing beta-amyloid proteins which can disrupt the communication between cells in the brain and are believed to be a cause of Alzheimer’s.
Research on the MIND Diet has shown that the closer you stick to the recommended foods, you can decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In one study, older adults who stuck to the MIND diet cut their risk for Alzheimer’s in half. Even those who use the MIND Diet as a guideline rather than a strict diet saw cognitive health benefits. With this data, Kemper House Central Ohio can not turn away. We use the MND Diet in the Kemper Kitchen because our residents deserve nutritious meals that work for them.
The Kemper Kitchen is an incredible resource for ensuring the health of our residents. Check out the Facebook page for the Kemper Kitchen to learn more about the process as well as get some amazing new recipes that can be good for your body and mind.