Mind over matter. The phrase suggests we can alter our circumstances through the sheer force of will. But did you know? Boosting the power of one’s mind may actually be a matter of, well, “matter” – specifically the food that nourishes our bodies.
Many clients come to Fitness Together to work out issues regarding hypertension, which is hallmarked by an elevated blood pressure that ranges from high to severe. Other FT participants engage in cardio and aerobic exercise because it heightens their mood and has been proven to improve cognition by stimulating the growth of new brain cells.
In addition to regular workouts, our nutrition specialists have seen positive changes in clients who follow the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay Diet, or MIND Diet. This program was developed by researchers in an effort to enhance brain function and prevent dementia as we age. It combines the popularity and effectiveness of the heart healthy Mediterranean Diet and DASH - Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension – regimens.
These programs, on their own, have been shown to contribute to a healthier lifestyle in myriad ways:
- Lowering blood pressure
- Aiding in weight loss
- Reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and more
The MIND Diet is somewhat of a unique hybrid, however, as it spotlights the common foods from each popular diet that have been shown to benefit brain development and stave off dementia. These include:
- All vegetables – with a particular focus on six or more servings of green, leafy veggies per week.
- Berries – Twice a week for their antioxidants.
- Nuts – Five times a week, varying the type wherever and whenever possible.
- Olive oil – as your only cooking oil.
- Whole grains – three daily servings; from brown pasta to whole wheat bread to quinoa, and more.
- Fish – once weekly, opting for a fattier fish like tuna or trout that is loaded with omega-3s.
- Beans (lentils, soybeans, etc.) – because, yes, they are good for your heart, and ideally incorporated into four meals per week.
- Poultry – Eating chicken or turkey twice per week is encouraged – just not fried.
- Wine – Everything in moderation, of course, but one glass daily – red or white – has been shown to have brain-boosting benefits. Red, in particular, has been singled out thanks to the compound resveratrol, which could be a in warding off Alzheimer’s disease
Following the MIND Diet is easy. Experts recommend simply eating more of the 10 approved menu items, while curbing consumption of the following foods that are loaded with saturated and trans fats:
- Butter and margarine
- Red meat
- Fried food
- Sweets and deserts
Mind over matter. Overcoming the physical through an act of sheer will. Fitness Together and its customers know a thing or two about that. For many of us, refraining from the treats that offer temporary pleasure, but result in long-term lethargy and weight gain requires incredible willpower. The MIND Diet could potentially make this pursuit easier and efficient. But it’s important to remember it is only one component of a healthier lifestyle. Regular exercise must be maintained, as well – and Fitness Together Ellicott City can help you strike the proper balance between physical activity and proper eating. Contact us today to learn more and then let’s get started!