What is the MIND Diet?
What if you could slow the cognitive decline of aging and reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease – just by making a few changes to your breakfast, lunch and dinner? Well, the creators of the MIND diet (which stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) say you can. In fact, according to research published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, the diet reduced Alzheimer’s risk by 53 percent among those who followed the plan strictly and 35 percent for those who followed it moderately well.
The MIND diet has zeroed in on aspects of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet and blood-pressure-slashing DASH (which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet for the biggest brain-boosting benefits. The plan lists 10 healthy food groups and five that you should avoid. It comes down to limiting foods that are high in saturated fats and calories but have low nutritional value, and including healthy foods that offer nutrients that help your brain, says Martha Clare Morris, director of nutrition and nutritional epidemiology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, who created the MIND diet. “The top nutrients are vitamin E, B vitamins, omega 3s, some of the carotenoids, lutein in particular, and flavonoids,” she explains. That means lots of leafy greens, nuts and olive oil (and even wine!) but no butter, cheese or fried foods. Follow our seven-day plan for tips from the diet’s creator.