What Happened When I Ate The Best Brain Foods For A Week

But like most people, I have my unhealthy habits. After using the sleep app Sleep Cycle for a few months, I’ve come to realize that my sleep quality and quantity is not as high as I would like it to be
. While I try to eat a healthy diet of lean meat and vegetables about 70% of the time, I resort to junk food when I’m stressed and drink waytoo much coffeewhen I don’t get enough sleep. Somewhere in the process, my brain slows down and it becomes excruciating to think properly for what seems like a long stretch in the afternoon.

Related: To Improve Your Focus, Just Eat Like A Drone Pilot

I’ve tried adopting “diets” for the sake of my brain and energy levels–but have largely failed due to its all-or-nothing approach. Diets like the Slow- Carb diet, the Ketogenic diet, Whole 30, Paleo, and the Bulletproof Diet all tout amazing brain function as a result, but I hated
their restrictive nature. The fact that a slip-up can undo a week of discipline discouraged me from continuing with any of those eating plans for longer than two weeks.

But since I notice a difference in my sleep and clearheadedness when I’m more conscious of what I eat
, I was determined to find a plan that works. A lot of Googling led me to the MIND diet, which was designed purely for greater cognitive function, as opposed to weight loss like most of the diets above. The best part of all? it’s not all or nothing, adopting parts of diet supposedly still
gives you mental benefits. I was IN.

A Diet For The Brain

The MIND diet, shortened from Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, was created by researchers at Rush University Medical Center and the Harvard School Of Public Health
. A hybrid of the popular Mediterranean and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets, the researchers studied eating patterns that reduces the risk Alzheimer’s disease
, and conducted cognitive tests of 960 adults over the space of nine years, tracking their dietary habits.

The MIND diet encourages high consumption of 10 “brain-healthy” food groups such as green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, and fish. It limited (note: not
banned) consumption of unhealthy food groups like red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, sweets, and processed foods. The findings, published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association,
revealed that older adults who adhered strictly to the MIND diet faced a 53% lower risk of Alzheimer’s, and those who followed it moderately saw their risk lower by 35%.

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