Your brain on blueberries

You have heard the saying, “a mind is a terrible thing to waste,” right? We lose lots of top minds every year to wasting brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. What if you could alter the composition of the diet to help save brains? As the chorus sang in the musical, Grease, “Tell me more, tell me more.”

What do green leafy vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and a glass of wine all have in common?

According to the Henry County Health Center, these foods are all part of the MIND diet — a diet showing promise in reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Recent research conducted by Rush University and funded by the National Institute on Aging followed 923 individuals for almost 5 years. What they learned was that people who followed the MIND diet, even moderately, had a 53 percent reduction in dementia and the development of Alzheimer’s. Fifty-three percent! Now let’s get talking.

Join your local meal site’s February’s Fresh Conversations program this month to engage in a conversation about the MIND diet and how you can include foods to keep your brain healthy and your memory sharp. February’s Fresh Conversations discussion will be held at The Fellowship Cup on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 11 a.m. Local facilitator, Elise Klopfenstein from Henry County Health Center will lead the discussion.

Did you know that blueberries might be your brain’s new best friend? Of those powerful memory foods, blueberries have been shown to be most beneficial. Blueberries and other blue and purple fruits are packed with anthocyanins and show promise in lowering blood pressure and preserving memory and reasoning skills.

Participants will learn ways to include fresh and frozen blueberries into their diets. A sample will be provided. Besides beating the winter blues with blueberries, you’ll have a chance to discuss other brain foods on a budget.

Maintaining brainpower gets an added boost from activity, as well. Singing and doing puzzles are two winter activities that can keep your brain sharp. Both activities connect the chemicals in your brain, and singing has the added bonus of making you happier.

Fresh Conversations is a free program offered by Milestones Area Agency on Aging and designed to promote sharing and peer support. Take time in February to learn more about the powerful, protective features of blueberries, strawberries, nuts, olive oil and wine. Because a mind is a terrible thing to waste.