This is a collaborative post.
If you Google “youth and their brain health,” most of the results you will get will redirect you to topics concerning youth and their mental health. This, of course, is a serious topic that deserves to be under the spotlight.
However, a topic that is often overshadowed because of such inclination toward discussing the youth’s mental health is their actual brain health.
Cognitive health and age-related cognitive decline are more often discussed in the case of adults, mostly people in their 50s and 60s, but the cognitive function of the brain of a teenager or someone in their early 20s is just as important.
An editorial published in the weekly peer-reviewed medical trade journal The BMJ in 2022 titled “Brain health in young adults” suggests there is a knowledge gap regarding brain health in young adults.
Thus comes the need to talk about the youth’s brain and cognitive health and how they can improve, which is exactly what we will be doing in this article today. More specifically, we will focus on how something called the MIND diet can help the youth improve their brain health.
What Is the MIND Diet?
The MIND diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. It may seem like any of your other diet plans, but in actuality, the MIND diet is more than just about healthy eating.
Here, you do not just eat leafy greens and avoid high-fat foods to lose weight. When on a MIND diet, your focus is to improve your cognitive function and brain health.
According to Simple.Life, by eating just ten groups of food and limiting five others, you boost your brain health. In doing so from an early age, you can easily avoid age-related health crises such as cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
In principle, the MIND diet aims to not only support your brain health but also to shield against various cognitive impairments and slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
This diet does not restrict your eating hours. Instead, it merely asks you to avoid certain foods and consume more of others.
While more research is still needed to fully understand the impact the MIND diet can have on different conditions, it has so far shown promising results in slowing down cognitive decline and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
How the MIND Diet Can Help the Youth Improve Their Brain Health
The MIND diet is something people of all ages can experience, even the youth. Here are five ways the MIND diet can improve the brain health of our younger generations.
#1 Boosts Cognitive Function
The MIND diet heavily focuses on the consumption of nutrient-rich foods such as berries and fish. On the other hand, it limits the intake of certain unhealthy foods, including processed snacks and red meat.
When following the MIND diet, young people can improve their cognitive function and memory retention since the foods included in this diet are always helpful in aiding brain development and boosting memory retention capabilities.
#2 Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is observed whenever the human body is injured or infected by a disease. This inflammation occurs as the body’s natural response to those injuries and infections.
However, you should know that chronic inflammation can also lead to various diseases. Some of these diseases might turn out to be fatal to the human brain.
Since the MIND diet has foods like fruits, vegetables and nuts, which are rich in anti-inflammatory properties, it can help reduce inflammation in our body.
At the same time, it can also promote good brain health in doing so. Studies support this claim suggesting that people who have followed the MIND diet had found lower levels of inflammatory markers in their blood.
#3 Supports Brain Growth and Development
During childhood and adolescence, the human brain undergoes a lot of growth and development. Proper nutrition is a must to ensure this process takes place without any hindrance. The MIND diet can help in this regard as well.
The MIND diet suggests eating foods like fish, nuts and seeds. Fish can provide us with omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for ensuring a functioning brain and its development.
The diet also suggests eating fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins as well as minerals, which are equally important for the healthy growth and development of our brain.
#4 Improves Mood and Emotional Well-being
A poor diet and nutrition can lead to mood disorders. This includes disorders like depression and anxiety. Since the MIND diet is strictly focused on the consumption of whole foods rich in nutrients, it can support our emotional well-being.
Take leafy greens as examples. These foods are good sources of folate. Folate has been shown to help improve our overall mood and also reduce the risk of falling into depression.
Berries, which are also part of the MIND diet, are rich in antioxidants. They can help reduce oxidative stress and promote a positive mood too.
#5 Enhances Overall Health
The MIND diet is not only good for brain health but also promotes overall health. It includes foods that are rich in nutrients that support heart health, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.
Young people can reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease by getting into the MIND diet.
These diseases can have a negative impact on brain health, so it is important to promote overall health as well alongside the consumption of this diet.
From helping boost memory retention capabilities and dealing with depression to improving overall cognitive health, the MIND diet is capable of doing a lot of good for our brains.
At the end of the day, however, we must remember that it is a dietary plan, and such a plan can only be as good as we make it. Thus, if you are really looking to keep your brain health intact from a young age, you should consider getting into the MIND diet right now instead of waiting till you are a middle-aged person.