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Have You Heard of the MIND Diet? If Not, You Will Soon.


Have You Heard of the MIND Diet? If Not, You Will Soon.
  Mar. 27, 2017


The “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay” or MIND diet is essentially the combination of two proven healthy diets, the DASH and Mediterranean, but it places an extra emphasis on optimizing brain health. Research has shown that it may lower your risk for mental decline over time and perhaps even reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease – even if you fail to rigidly stick to the (there is room for cheat days). It was developed by ScD. Martha Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center, through a study funded by the National Institute on Aging. Morris' team examined the food intake of 923 seniors over 4 ½ years. The results showed the MIND diet lowered Alzheimer's risk by about 35% for people who followed it moderately well, and up to 53% for those who adhered to it strictly. Other research has pointed to major components of the MIND diet lowering the risk for mental decline and even improving cognitive performance. Morris did emphasize however that the findings are not definitive as more long-term, randomized comparison studies are needed.

To follow the MIND diet, you need to focus on the following:

  • Green leafy vegetables: at least 6 servings a week
  • Other vegetables: at least 1 serving a day
  • Nuts: 5 servings a week
  • Berries: =2 servings a week
  • Beans: at least 3 servings a week
  • Whole grains: =3 servings a day
  • Fish: at least 1 serving a week
  • Poultry: 2 servings a week
  • Olive oil: use as a primary cooking oil
  • Wine: 1 glass a day

On the other hand, you need to avoid:

  • Red meat: <4 servings a week
  • Butter and margarine: <1 tablespoon daily
  • Cheese: <1 serving a week
  • Pastries and sweets: <5 servings a week
  • Fried or fast food: <1 serving a week

Even if you don’t have a family history of Alzheimer’s disease or other risk factors, scientists recommend trying this type of eating plan. It focuses on nutritious whole foods, so “It’s not just good for your brain. It’s good for your heart and overall health, too,” says Majid Fotuhi, MD, PhD who serves at the Memosyn Neurology Institute. It is also a preferred plan because you do not have to stick to it perfectly to see some benefits.

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