The MIND Diet

Two studies published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia feature a comprehensive dietary approach to preventing brain related diseases and deterioration of memory and mental acuity with aging. Not surprisingly, the MIND intervention follows similar patterns as heart healthy diets and is in fact based on two well studied approaches to healthy eating: the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, both of which have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases- heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure. The brain and the heart are both affected by chronic diseases that impair the function of blood vessels, causing clots and decreased delivery of oxygen and other nutrients to cells and tissues in these organs. So eating foods that improve vascular function will create healthier brains and hearts.

These studies found that closely following MIND, DASH, or Mediterranean diets provided protection against cognitive decline, however moderate adherence to MIND also provided protection. So if you are already eating closely to the DASH or Mediterranean diets, you are reducing the risk of developing brain related diseases. If you struggle to meet the guidelines, switching to the more focused MIND diet can also give you significant improvements to brain health.

The researchers followed 960 participants for an average of over 4 and half years and calculate that the brains of those who closely followed the MIND diet had an adjusted average age of 7.5 years younger and 50% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s than those who had the least compliance with the diet.

The MIND diet is composed of ten “brain healthy” foods:

  • whole grains- 3 servings per day
  • leafy greens- daily
  • other veggies- daily
  • nuts- daily
  • beans- 4 servings per week
  • berries- twice weekly
  • poultry- twice weekly
  • fish- one serving per week
  • olive oil- daily
  • wine- 1 glass per day

The MIND diet also includes foods to avoid (consuming less than one serving per week)

  • red meats
  • fried and fast foods
  • pastries and other sweets
  • cheese
  • butter and stick margarine

Happy eating for your brain!

Jason

 

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