The MIND diet, which stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, was developed by Martha Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center, through a study funded by the National Institute on Aging and published online February 2015.
The study found 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 rigorously.
Is the MIND Diet for you
The MIND diet may differ from other diets in that it’s not for weight loss.
But the results of this diet will be positive if you’re looking to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and protect your brain.
Keeping up with this diet does take planning and determination.
But don’t get discouraged if you fall slightly off track.
You don’t have to stick rigorously to the diet to enjoy the health benefits.
How does MIND Diet work?
Every day, you eat at least three servings of whole grains, a salad and another vegetable, along with drinking a glass of wine. (While a little alcohol consumption seems to be better for the brain than none at all, you could skip the wine since it’s not necessary to follow the guidelines to the letter to benefit.)
On most days you snack on nuts, and every other day you eat half a cup of beans.
At least twice a week you have poultry and a half-cup serving of berries (blueberries are best), and you dine on fish at least weekly.
Olive oil is what you primarily use at home.
Guidelines for the MIND Diet
Integrating principles of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, the MIND diet was created with ten foods to focus on and five to limit.
Foods to Eat on the MIND Diet
- Green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, collard greens, lettuce): a minimum of 6 servings a week
- Nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios): a minimum of 5 servings a week
- Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries): a minimum of 2 servings a week
- Beans (black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans): a minimum of 3 servings a week
- Whole grains (quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice, whole-grain pasta and bread): a minimum of 3 servings a day (5)
- Fish (salmon, tuna, trout): at least 1 serving a week
- Poultry (chicken, turkey): at least twice a week
- Olive oil as the primary oil used
- Wine: no more than 1 glass a day
Foods to Limit on the MIND Diet
- Red meat (steak, ground beef, pork, lamb): no more than 4 servings a week
- Butter and margarine: no more than 1 tablespoon daily
- Cheese (brie, mozzarella, or cheddar): no more than 1 serving a week
- Sweets (cakes, brownies, ice cream): no more than 5 servings a week
- Fried or fast food (french fries, chicken nuggets, onion rings, fried chicken, hamburgers): no more than 1 serving a week
A Sample 7-Day Meal Plan for the MIND Diet
Here’s an overview of what one week of eating on the MIND Diet might look like:
Breakfast -Banana-strawberry smoothie
Lunch -Kale Caesar salad
Dinner -Chili made with ground turkey and quinoa
Breakfast -Vegetable breakfast frittata and a slice of toast
Lunch -Tuna salad sandwich on whole-wheat bread
Dinner -Pecan-crusted chicken with roasted broccoli
Breakfast -Blueberry-walnut pancakes
Lunch -Grilled chicken sandwich on whole-wheat bread with celery and hummus
Dinner -Roasted turkey with a cabbage salad and a whole-wheat dinner roll
Breakfast -Greek yogurt with raspberries and 15 almonds
Lunch -Kale and spinach salad with carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, chickpeas, olive-oil based salad dressing, and brown rice
Dinner -Whole-wheat pasta with chicken and marinara sauce, roasted broccoli, and side salad
Breakfast -Oatmeal with blueberries and slivered almonds
Lunch -Grilled chicken, ½ pita, kale salad with chickpeas, feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, and olive oil
Dinner -Baked salmon with broccoli and Brussels sprouts (roasted in olive oil), quinoa, and a glass of wine
Breakfast -Whole-wheat bagel sandwich with 1 scrambled egg and blueberries on the side
Lunch -Turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread with tomato slice, lettuce, hummus, and baby carrots on the side
Dinner -Quinoa stir fry with sautéed vegetables, beans, and olive oil
Breakfast -Whole-wheat toast with scrambled eggs and slices of avocado
Lunch -Spinach salad with strawberries, chickpeas, slivered almonds, olive oil dressing, and a small whole-grain roll
Dinner -Grilled salmon with sautéed spinach and 1/3 cup brown rice
This information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.