Happy New Year friends and followers! I’ve taken a little break from this space over the past few weeks to spend some quality time with my people. I’ve missed you! I hope your holiday was filled with so much happiness.

My first post of the New Year….my guess is that you’re probably thinking I’m back here today with some diet hacks, some tips for getting back on the healthy train, a few ways to shed some unwanted weight you may have packed on over the past few weeks. Well, to be honest with you, I feel like your inboxes, your web browsers, your Instagram and Facebook feeds are all probably chuck full of those ideas right now. Keto this, whole-30 that…if you’ve followed along with me for a while now you know that I have dissected some of the post popular diets in the past. You also know that my favorite diet is “whole foods, low sodium, high fiber and everything in moderation”.  At the start of a New Year, we all tend to focus on our diet and how it pertains to our body: a flatter stomach, smaller waistline, arms that don’t jiggle and wiggle when we wave. This year, I would like us to shift some of that focus away from the superficial and onto our minds.

When I sat down to really think about the direction I wanted this blog post to go, I started with the literal. Let’s really focus on our diets and how they pertain to our brains. As the control center of our whole body, the brain is in charge of keeping our heart beating, our lungs breathing, our eyes blinking. Our brain is in charge of every step we take, every move we make. Daily I read articles focused on heart health, vascular health, cancer fighting foods, weight loss (all super important), but I tend to see less focus on brain health. How to preserve brain function, how to combat age related cognitive decline, how to try and holistically prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease if we know that they run in our families.

Currently, there are very few medical treatments available to fight age related memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. But, the common thread found in many studies suggests that adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle has been among the most consistent recommendation from the medical field for both maintaining brain health over the long term and holistically treating brain related illnesses. The “MIND diet” as many in the field have coined it, is a real thing. Often referred to as the “brain protective diet” it is a hybrid of the beloved  Mediterranean diet (which I talked about on the blog here), and a focus on non-starchy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes and seafood while limiting red and/or processed meats, sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, refined grains and added salt.

When it comes to literally focusing on our minds this year, let’s dedicate our diet to our brains. Let’s fuel our bodies with what our brains need to stay sharp and focused. Let’s stay on top of age related memory loss and cognitive decline and protect our brains with our diets. Get your grocery list ready now, the following is the MIND Diet:

THE MIND DIET

The MIND diet includes the following components:

Whole grains: at least 3 servings/day
-Green leafy vegetables: at least 6 servings/week
-Other vegetables: at least 1 serving/day
-Berries: at least 2 servings/week
-Fish: at least 1 serving/week
-Poultry: at least 2 servings/week
-Beans: more than 3 servings/week
-Nuts: at least 5 servings/week
-Olive oil as primary plant oil
-Alcohol (wine): 3 servings/week
Limit intake of:
-Butter: less than 1 pat per day
-Cheese: less than a 1 ounce serving/week
-Pastries/sweets: less than 5 servings/week
-Fast/fried food: less than 1 serving/week
-Red/processed meats: less than 4 servings/week

Source: Heath & Nutrition Letter (Tufts University)

 

Now, there’s a lot to be said about literally “feeding” our bodies the “good” stuff. In the past we’ve talked about how our diets can affect our moods and combat depression, we’ve talked about how certain diets can make our skin age less quickly and our hair grow faster,  and today we’ve talked about how literally we can protect our brain with the MIND diet.  When I sat down to write this post for all of you I came across a quote that made me also take a more figurative look at mind health…..

 

I encourage you to think about that quote that for a while, let it sit with you for a bit. This year, let’s make a pact to feed ourselves the “good” stuff. Let’s take care of our bodies, our minds, and our souls. 2019 is already off to a great start. It’s good to be back! Xx Janine