The MIND diet is specifically designed to prevent loss of brain function and dementia as you age. It is the combination of the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet that focuses on the health of the brain.
MIND simply stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay and it was designed to minimize dementia and help with decline in the health of the brain as a person ages.
The MIND diet is still considered by some experts as one of the healthiest form of diet. The diet helps to lower blood pressure, diabetes, minimize the risk of heart diseases and many other diseases.
The DASH and the Mediterranean diet that both form the MIND diet involves eating plenty of fruits. The intake of fruits has been linked with improving brain functions, especially berries.
There are currently no specific guidelines to how the MIND diet should be followed. However, it is important to consume more of the 10 recommended foods the diet allows and less of the 5 foods the diet wants you to limit.
Here is a list of 10 foods the MIND diet allows;
1. Berries: Berries like raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries are very vital, especially for their antioxidant properties.
2. Green, leafy vegetables: Strive for at least six servings per week. This may also include cooked greens, spinach, salad, and kale.
3. Nuts: At least five servings of nuts is needed. Nuts like cashew nuts, peanuts, walnuts, almond nuts and other varieties of nuts are needed to get the available nutrients.
4. Other vegetables: Eating other vegetables with greens at least once in a day has plenty of health benefits.
5. Fish: It is important that fish is included in your diet, at least once a week. Fatty fish like trout, salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna are known for their high amount of Omega-3 fatty acids.
6. Whole grains: At least three servings daily is necessary. Whole grains like quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat bread and whole-wheat pasta all have healthy benefits.
7. Olive oil: Using olive oil for cooking has plenty health benefits.
8. Poultry: Eating poultry foods at least two times a week is needed. However, fried chicken isn’t encouraged on MIND diet.
9. Beans: Beans like soybeans and lentils at least four times a week should be included in your diet.
10. Wine: Not more than a glass of wine daily is required. Both white and red wine is beneficial to the brain. However, extensive research shows that resveratrol present in red wine can help against Alzheimer’s disease and better brain function.
You don’t have to quit the MIND diet if you are unable to meet up with the required amount of servings. Following the MIND diet -even in small amount- has been linked with reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
You are allowed to eat more than the above listed foods when following the MIND diet. However, you would get desired results if you stick to the diet.
Here is a list of 5 foods the MIND diet allows less of;
1. Cheese: The MIND diet allows eating cheese just once in a week.
2. Butter and margarine: It is best to eat less than 1 tablespoon daily. Olive oil should be used instead as the major cooking fat.
3. Fried food: The MIND diet strongly discourages eating foods that are fried. Especially foods from fast-food restaurants. It is advisable to limit your fried food intake to once per week.
4. Red meat: Not more than three servings of red meat per week is required in the MIND diet. This includes beef, lamb, pork and others.
5. Sweets and pastries: Pastries and sweets, including most processed junk food you can imagine should be limited no matter how much you crave them. This also include foods like cookies, ice cream, donuts, snack cakes, brownies, candies and more.
It is important that your consumption of these foods is limited. This is because they contain of saturated and trans fats. Trans fats have been linked with different diseases, including Alzheimer’s and heart diseases.
It is still under debate in the nutrition world what the health effects of saturated fats are. However, excess consumption of saturated fat has been linked with poor brain health. For more insight in MIND diet, visit your dietitian.
What do you think about the MIND diet? Is it a food plan you would like to try? Share your thoughts with us in he comments.