The MIND diet, one of the healthiest diets, combines the Mediterranean diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. Research has shown it improves brain health and reduces the risk of cardiovascular conditions.
The “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay” (MIND) diet was developed by RUSH nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris and colleagues. According to a paper published in the journal “Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association”, the MIND diet reduces significantly the risk of developing Alzheimer’s even if the diet is not diligently followed.
The MIND diet includes 15 dietary components that are categorized into 10 brain-healthy food groups and 5 unhealthy groups.
10 Healthy Food Groups
MIND diet encourages people to consume these foods into their diet more often. These foods are rich in many nutrients that stimulate fitness of the brain, possibly by reducing oxidative stress, inflammation, and the formation of beta-amyloid plaques.
- Green and leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, cooked greens, and salads can be included almost daily.
- All other vegetables in addition to green leafy vegetables can be consumed at least once per day. It’s better to choose non-starchy vegetables because of how nutrient-rich they are for a lower number of calories.
- Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries can be eaten at least twice per week to get antioxidant benefits.
- Nuts can be consumed daily. As the creators of the MIND diet didn’t specify what kind of nuts to consume, all types of nuts can be included to obtain a variety of nutrients.
- Olive oil can be used instead as main cooking oil. One can consider different types of olive oil depending on what they want to cook.
- Whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and 100% whole wheat bread can be consumed twice a day.
- Fish could be included at least once per week. The best bet is to choose fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, and mackerel for high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Beans include all beans, lentils, and soybeans. Beans can be consumed with every meal.
- Poultry such as chicken or turkey can be eaten at least twice per week. Fried chicken is not at all OKAY on the MIND diet.
- Wine, both red and white wine might benefit the brain. No more than 1 glass daily of wine is recommended.
5 Unhealthy Food Groups
Mind diet discourages people to consume below mentioned food categories.
- Butter and margarine should be consumed less than 1 tablespoon (about 14 grams) daily. Instead, one can replace butter with olive oil.
- Cheese is recommended to be consumed less than once per week.
- Red meat which includes beef, pork, lamb, and products made from these meats is not recommended for more than three servings per week.
- Fried food or fast food is highly discouraged on the MIND diet highly discourages fried food, especially which are cooked in fast-food restaurants. This category should be avoided as much as one can.
- Pastries and sweets include most processed snacks and desserts like ice cream, cookies, brownies, snack cakes, doughnuts, candy, and more. This category should be limited to no more than four times per week.
Why MIND Diet?
There are numerous benefits of the MIND diet. It is a wholesome and balanced diet which makes sure one is getting all the necessary doses of nutrients. Studies have shown it prevents dementia and slows down the aging process of the brain thus limiting the risk of Alzheimer’s. The diet also reduces the risk of Breast Cancer and Parkinsonism Motor Impairments and can increase the longevity of life. The MIND diet can be adjusted to the requirements of people who are vegan and also meat lovers. This diet is planet friendly as it is more plant-based and does not burn one’s pocket.
However, more research is required to understand the diet’s effects. But for now, the MIND diet is a great approach to follow if one is looking to make changes in one’s food habits in order to live a better life. We cannot stop aging, but can choose to age gracefully.