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Why heart-healthy foods are also good for your brain

Why heart-healthy foods are also good for your brain

Good news for those of you eating a heart-healthy Mediterranean Diet: New research shows it’s also a brain-healthy diet.

The same plant-based foods that help keep cholesterol in check and prevent heart disease may also lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  At least that’s the conclusion reached by researchers after examining participants at high risk of the disease who agreed to follow the Mediterranean Diet.  

(If you need a refresher on the Mediterranean Diet, check out our No-Diet Guide.)

As compared to those who committed to eating the menu of fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, and legumes, study participants who did not adhere to the diet as well showed more signs of Alzheimer’s risk factors (like more amyloid and tau – the proteins that build up in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients - in their spinal fluids).

Brain scans of the participants showed that those not adhering to the diet showed increased brain aging. Those who kept on track with the diet showed fewer signs of memory loss.

Of course, the study, published in the journal Neurology, couldn’t conclusively answer the question as to why the plant-based diet seems to be protective against Alzheimer’s. Experts suspect that the variety of foods work together at reducing inflammation, increasing protective antioxidants, and supplying the brain with brain-healthy fats like those omega-3s.

Whatever the exact reasons turn out to be, the list of side benefits of Mediterranean-type diets is long. If it’s not enough that a diet full of whole-food fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants is good for your heart and brain, no problem, we’ve got more reasons for you to adopt this eating plan: it’s also believed to lower your risk of other diseases -- even cancer. And helps you live longer. And feel better.

That may all sound great, but if you’re like most people, it might also feel overwhelming.  No worries:  Step One Foods to the rescue!  After all, our products were created specifically with those heart (and brain) boosting nutrients in mind. Simply swap out your regular snacks for our research-backed products, and you’ll be well on your way. Your heart -- and brain -- will thank you.

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