The MIND Diet
This is a combination of two diets that have well-known health benefits: Mediterranean and DASH.
These are the healthiest options for those also looking for reducing the risk or prevention of heart disease prevention and maximising weight loss with a lifelong diet.
The name is short for Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay or MIND for short.
It could also be valuable for women concerned about brain fog/freeze at menopause.
Early studies show that it lowers risk of Alzheimer’s by 53% in those who follow it closely and 35% in those who follow more flexibly.
10 Brain-Healthy Food Groups
The MIND diet has 10 groups:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Other vegetables
- Whole grains
- Olive oil
5 ways it will work best
1 The diet calls for beans every other day, poultry twice a week, and fish once a week but nothing to stop you combine several of the ingredients such as beans and poultry in a chicken/bean casserole or chilli for example.
All these foods are high in protein and low in saturated fats, making them good for your overall health as well as for your brain health.
2 Every day include a salad, plus one other vegetable and 3 servings of whole grains each day. We all have our favourite vegetables, so any you like, but spinach and kale are particularly good.
3 Olive Oil is not just for cooking and putting on salads so try adding a spoonful to your cooked vegetables and pastas or just to dip some wholemeal bread into in the Italian way.
It’s been shown to improve brain function over the long term and protect against dementia.
4 Nuts and berries are ideal snacks, and who doesn’t snack occasionally? They have both been linked to better brain health and blueberries and strawberries, in particular, help keep your brain working at its best and may slow symptoms linked to Alzheimer’s.
5 Wine is a part of the Mediterranean diet and has been shown to improve brain health and help protect against Alzheimer’s in several studies.
So enjoy, but in moderation and for women that is just one glass a day as more than that may increase the risk of dementia.
What to limit or avoid
The MIND diet specifically limits red meat, butter and margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.
They recommend fewer than 4 servings a week of red meat, less than a tablespoon of butter a day, and less than a serving a week of each of the following: whole-fat cheese, fried food, and fast food.
I would add that margarine with its additives is also off the menu for a healthy diet and using a small quantity of butter is shown to be helpful for absorption of the fat soluble vitamins.
Who doesn’t want to stay alert and fully functioning throughout their life, and today we have the information to help make that possible and reduce the risk of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, heart problems and cancer.
So making a few dietary changes can really make a difference and keeping your brain sharp with crossword puzzles, sudoko, jigsaws or anything else that stimulates brain activity is an excellent addition to the MIND diet.