There's a new diet that's causing some excitement in the health world. You may have heard it mentioned on a quick health section on your local news, but it probably won't be promoted across social media.
The diet is a mash up of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. It's called the MIND diet, and a study at Rush University found that it may be able to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's by 53%.
The MIND diet was created specifically for the Rush University study. They created it by taking what we already knew about certain foods and their good or bad effect on brain function. They selected over 900 people in the Chicago area and had them report on the foods they ate over a 9 year period and monitored them for the development of Alzheimer's dementia. They found that those who followed the MIND diet appeared 53% less likely to develop Alzheimer's than their peers who did not follow the diet.
Now, Alzheimer's is a complicated disease that appears to have many contributing factors. This was also only one study following a small group of people in one geographical area. There need to be more studies looking at this diet and its benefits. However, the initial study is very promising.
I think the most exciting aspect of the Rush study suggests that even those who followed the MIND diet only "moderately" well still saw a 35% reduction in their risk of developing Alzheimer's. Most people are not going to follow a diet perfectly 100% of the time, so if you can mostly follow the diet you can still benefit, which makes it functional in the real world.
In the end, the MIND diet isn't all that different from what nutrition professionals have been saying for years. The diet has 10 food groups to eat regularly and 5 to limit or avoid.
10 Food Groups to Include
-Green leafy vegetables
5 Foods to Limit or Avoid
-Fast food/fried foods
-Pastries and sweets
-Butter and stick margarine
The study also suggested that the longer people had been following the MIND diet, the more protective the benefits. Which means it's never too early to start.
June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. As a sufferer of migraine headaches, I know how brutal they can be and how they can completely derail a whole day, or even week.
For some, but not all people, diet can play a role in triggering migraines. The best way to know if your diet is affecting your headaches is to keep a headache diary. Keep a log of when you have a migraine, and what foods you ate within the 24 hour period before the headache began. As you log more headaches, see if you start to see a pattern of a particular food consumed the day of or before a headache.
If you do have a food sensitivity, it should trigger a headache within 12 to 24 hours.
Common migraine food triggers are:
-Foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG)
One of these, or other foods, may be triggering some of your migraines. Or maybe your migraines aren't triggered by a food at all.
Migraines can be caused by a variety of factors. I think it's helpful to not only record food consumed in a headache log, but also other common headache triggers. These include: amount of sleep over the past few nights, stress level over the past week, recent exercise, any change in your normal routine.
There are a lot of benefits to choosing meatless meals. Not only are meatless meals typically cheaper and better for the environment; they're also lower in unhealthy fats and cholesterol.
Lentils are one of my favorite meat replacements. They are a great source of protein and fiber. They easily take on flavor and pair easily with a lot of different foods. I always keep some stocked in my kitchen for last minute dinners.
Last week I was in the mood for Mexican, but was out of refried beans. So I decided to try substituting the protein portion of the taco with lentils. It turned out great!
I used soft corn tortilla shells, and then topped the lentils with salsa, sliced avocado, and a little bit of shredded cheese. If you're a fan of sour cream on your tacos, plain non-fat Greek yogurt makes a great healthy substitute.
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cup dry lentils
2 cups water
In a large, high rimmed skillet, sauté garlic and onions until fragrant. Add lentils and water, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook until water is absorbed.
Scoop roughly 1/4 cup cooked lentils into each taco shell, then top with your favorite toppings.
Today I ate a donut.
I didn't "earn" it. I didn't burn if off later. I didn't skip a meal. I didn't eat less the rest of the day. I didn't feel guilty about it. I didn't feel like a failure. The donut did not define my day.
Today I ate a donut, and that's ok.
I ate a donut because I wanted to eat a donut. I ate a donut because I really enjoy donuts, and this was my favorite kind of all.
As I was scrolling through Instagram tonight I saw that a lot of people ate a donut today. I also saw a lot of people that wanted to eat a donut, but didn't. I saw a lot of people that felt they couldn't eat a donut because it wasn't a "cheat" day. Or they didn't want their workout to be "pointless". I saw people who ate donuts with questionable "fat burning" supplements. I even saw people shaming those who did eat donuts.
If you ate a donut today, that's ok. If you didn't eat a donut today because you didn't want to eat a donut, that's ok too. But if you wanted to eat a donut today and didn't because of something similar to the above reasoning, that's not ok. That's something to talk about.
Healthy living is based on a healthy mindset. Feelings of guilt, failure, fear; letting one food define your day - those are not aspects of a healthy mindset. The power we give food as a society can make it feel overwhelming, but food is just food. The first step to healing your relationship with food is recognizing that.
Taryn is a Los Angeles based Registered Dietitian who's passionate about helping you be your healthiest you.