Gary Lineker opens up about his dementia concerns
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Adopting a healthy diet will benefit your brain, heart and waistline. If you want to cut your risk of developing dementia-related diseases including Alzheimer’s, the best place to start is improving your diet. Simple changes to your eating habits can have a huge impact on your health.
In Britain, one in six people over the age of 80 has dementia.
While there is no cure for dementia, the Alzheimer’s Society said delaying the onset of the disease by just five years could halve the number of dementia-related deaths.
Research has revealed unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices could put you at greater risk of dementia, so it could be time for you to start eating a dementia-friendly diet.
The MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) is credited with delaying the onset of brain decline.
This diet combines two applauded approaches: the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
This diet focuses on eating natural, unprocessed foods, and healthy sources of fat while limiting your salt intake.
According to the MIND diet, you should eat wholegrains three times a day: at least one source of wholegrains at each meal.
What are wholegrains?
Wholegrains get their namesake because they contain every part of the grain.
Unlike refined grains, which typically remove the bran and germ, wholegrains are intact and therefore higher in nutrients.
The three parts making up a wholegrain are:
- Bran: The outer fibre-rich layer
- Endosperm: The inner starch-rich part
- Germ: The nutrient-rich bit in the middle
Different wholegrains contain different nutrients, but generally wholegrains are rich in fibre, minerals and heart-healthy fats.
According to the MIND diet, you should eat wholegrains three times a day.
The MIND diet also advocates eating plenty of vegetables, lean meat and fish, and olive oil.
In addition to their place in a dementia-friendly diet, wholegrains are also linked to a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
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What wholegrains can you eat?
The following foods are all types of wholegrains you can add to any meal:
- Wholewheat, including spelt and durum wheat
- Brown rice and wild rice
- Maize (corn)
- Bulgur wheat
You can also look out for wholegrain products on the supermarket shelves.
These tend to be wholegrain alternatives to foods, typically made with white flour and other refined grains, such as:
- Wholemeal bread, wraps, pittas and chapatti
- Wholegrain breakfast cereals
- Wholewheat pasta
- Rye bread and rye crackers
- Oat cakes (reduced or low salt)
- Muesli (unsweetened)
- Plain popped corn
- Wholemeal flour
Whole grain meal inspiration
So, how are you going to get enough portions of wholegrains into your daily diet?
Here are some ideas for how to introduce more wholegrains to each meal.
A bowl of porridge, unsweetened muesli or wholemeal toast would make an excellent start to the day.
Add a portion of quinoa or freekeh to a salad for a nutritious lunch to keep your energy levels up throughout the afternoon.
Try snacking on wholegrain popcorn, rye crackers or oat cakes for an extra boost.
Eat a delicious pasta dish with wholewheat pasta, or make a warming curry and serve with brown or wild rice.
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