The MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) is a hybrid of the heavily studied heart- healthy Mediterranean and DASH diets, with modifications based on scientific literature and data specifically relevant to nutrition that benefits the brain. The MIND diet has been associated with improved cognitive thinking and has shown to both lower the risk and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease
– the leading cause of dementia.
Through cognitive assessments such as episodic memory, working memory, semantic memory, visuospatial ability and perceptual speed, researchers found that those following the MIND diet significantly lowered their risk of Alzheimer’s dementia (AD). Those who strictly followed the diet cut their risk by 53%, while even those who stuck to the diet moderately well still reduced their risk by 35%.
The MIND diet is centred around natural, plant-based foods, with a focus on brain- healthy whole foods, such as berries and green leafy vegetables, and a limited intake of animal-based and saturated fats.
Limit “unfriendly” brain foods – the less the better
• Butter/margarine – less than 1 tablespoon butter/day, avoid margarine
• Fast or fried food – less than once/week
• Red meat – less than 4 times/week
• Cheese – less than once/week
• Pastries and sweets – less than 5 times/week
Is fruit considered brain-healthy?
Fruits, a common recommendation in heart-healthy diets, haven’t been shown to slow cognitive decline or prevent dementia, with the exception of strawberries, and especially, blueberries. Other than eating berries at least twice a week, the MIND diet does not include recommendations for other types of fruit.
Components of the M.I.N.D Diet
Green Leafy vegetables – at least 6 servings/week (1 serving = 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw)
Other colourful vegetables – at least 1 serving/day (1 serving = 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw)
Berries – at least 2 servings/week (1 serving = 1 ounce, about 1/4 cup)
Nuts – at least 5 servings/week (1 serving = 1 ounce, about 1/4 cup)
Legumes – at least 4 servings/week (1 serving = 1/2 cup cooked)
Whole grains – at least 3 servings/day (1 serving = 1 slice 100% whole-grain bread; 1/2 cup cooked brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta or oatmeal; 1 cup 100% whole grain ready to eat breakfast cereal)
Fish – at least 1 serving/week (1 serving = 3 ounces cooked)
Poultry – at least 2 servings/week (1 serving = 3 ounces cooked)
Olive oil – use as your primary cooking oil
Wine – 1 serving/day (1 serving = 5 ounces)