When you hear the word, diet, you probably immediately think of people wanting to lose weight. However, different diets can be used to achieve different results. If brain health and Alzheimer’s disease prevention are important to you, you might consider trying the MIND diet, which has been linked to slower cognitive decline.
What is the MIND diet?
MIND (an acronym that stands for the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) is a combination of the Mediterranean diet and DASH diet, and the latest research suggests it may reduce the risk of developing dementia or slow the decline in brain health
In a study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, researchers at Rush University Medical Center reference past studies on the dietary connection between food and cognitive decline, and then combine concepts from the Mediterranean dietand the DASH diet – two plant-based diets – to develop a meal plan with brain-boosting benefits – the MIND diet.
The MIND diet focuses on eating lots of plant-based foods, and limiting animal products and foods high in saturated fats.The emphasis is on plants and a higher consumption of berries and green leafy vegetables.
Foods to Eat on the MIND Diet:
- Green leafy vegetables: a minimum of 6 servings a week
- Nuts: a minimum of 5 servings per week
- Berries: a minimum of 2 servings per week
- Beans: a minimum of 3 servings per week
- Whole Grains: a minimum of 3 servings per day
- Fish: at least 1 serving per week
- Poultry: at least twice per week
- Olive oil as the primary oil
- Wine: no more than 1 glass per day
Foods to Limit on the MIND Diet:
- Red meat: no more than 4 servings per week
- Butter and margarine: no more than 1 tablespoon daily
- Cheese: no more than 1 serving per week
- Sweets: no more than 5 servings per week
- Fried or fast food: no more than 1 serving per week
The MIND diet is also different from other popular diet plans because there’s no calorie counting and no food groups are completely eliminated. Rather than being overly restrictive, the program emphasizes an increased intake of foods with known cognitive benefits. As a result, you’re still able to enjoy your favorite foods in moderation.
The best part about the MIND diet is that you don’t have to be older or have a higher risk of Alzheimer’s or dementia to benefit from it. Anyone can benefit from the MIND diet due to its overall healthy eating pattern, and there are no negative side effects.