What is the MIND Diet?
The MIND diet plan is a fusion of two diets considered to be among the most healthy, the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet.
The Mediterranean diet focuses on vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, olive oil, and red wine and is one of the most popular and widely researched ways of eating.
The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) was developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for treating high blood pressure. It also focuses around eating whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, but one of the ways that it is different from the Mediterranean diet is that it is a low-sodium diet.
A research team set out to combine the best of both diets into one and prove, or disprove, its ability to prevent Alzheimer’s.
Originally it was called the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay diet, but was shortened to the MIND diet.
For every detail on the MIND Diet plan here is book and ebook which walks you through it all step by step: The MIND Diet book
Benefits of the MIND Diet
Many studies have found a link between diet and mental health. Nutrition plays an immensely important role in the development, management, and prevention of a number of mental health problems, including depression, schizophrenia and anxiety – as well as Alzheimer’s disease. Maintaining a balanced mood and establishing a lasting feeling of good health can be achieved through dieting. It’s important to include sufficient amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fats, amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and water – all of which can be done by staying faithful to the MIND diet plan.
The diet recommended by oncologists for people fighting cancer is very similar to the MIND diet plan – lots of vegetables and legumes, berries, unsaturated fats like olive oil, fatty fish, and small amounts of meat. For additional cancer-fighting compounds, boost the MIND diet with drinks like green tea or pomegranate juice and can also add in small amounts of citrus fruits and even antioxidant-rich dark chocolate.
Research which proves this can be found here.
Makes your brain younger.
Not only does this diet help prevent cognitive decline and reduces your risk of dementia, studies have shown that it actually improves brain function and performance. One study followed 960 older adults over a nine year period, and found that the brains of MIND dieters seemed an average of 7.5 years younger than those who weren’t following the diet.
Unhealthy cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein can build up in your body and cause damage to your arteries if you eat too much saturated or trans fats. The MIND diet plan prevents this by limiting your intake of these dangerous fats, and encouraging followers to enjoy healthier options – like olive oil instead of butter or margarine.
This helps to keep your cholesterol levels under steady control, which helps not only your brain health, but to your overall well-being aswell.
Feel and look younger.
Thanks to the antioxidants you’ll be consuming when you follow the MIND diet, you’ll discover that your skin looks clearer, wrinkles and fine lines appear softer, and you even have a healthier clearer mindset. You’ll also be losing excess weight while maintaining your muscle mass, keeping your body looking strong and healthy. For anyone looking to improve their appearance as well as their health, the MIND diet is the perfect solution.
While the diet is specifically designed with brain health in mind, dieters are encouraged to eat more whole, fresh, unprocessed foods such as lean meats, nuts, whole grains, beans, fish, greens, and olive oil all which all contribute to healthy weight loss – and with a restriction on sweets and pastries, dieters end up consuming a lot fewer empty calories.
The diet also endorses fat burning and helps increase metabolism, making it way easier to lose weight or maintain your current weight. And by eating plenty of lean protein, you’ll be able to support your muscle mass even as you get older.
Drawbacks of the MIND Diet
- • The guidelines are fairly loose as dieters are left on their own to carry out the plan.
- • There is little focus on exercise.
What to eat on the MIND Diet
- • Green, leafy vegetables – Aim for six or more servings per week. This includes kale, spinach, cooked greens and salads.
- • All other vegetables – Try to eat another vegetable in addition to the green leafy vegetables at least once a day. It is best to choose non-starchy vegetables because they have a lot of nutrients with a low number of calories.
- • Berries – Eat berries at least twice a week for their antioxidant benefits.
- • Nuts – Try to get five servings of nuts or more each week.
- • Olive oil – Use olive oil as your main cooking oil.
- • Whole grains – Aim for at least three servings daily. Choose whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and whole-wheat bread.
- • Fish – Eat fish at least once a week. It is best to choose fatty fish like salmon, sardines, trout, tuna and mackerel for their high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
- • Beans – Include beans in at least four meals every week. This includes all beans, lentils and soybeans.
- • Poultry – Try to eat chicken or turkey at least twice a week.
- • Wine – no more than one glass per day as both red and white wine benefit the brain by protecting against Alzheimer’s disease
What not to eat on the MIND Diet
- • Butter/Margarine
- • Cheese
- • Red meat
- • Fried food
- • Sweets
MIND Diet Sample meal plan for 1 week
For a book and ebook full of over 200 detailed menu plans like the one below and how to make them click here: The MIND Diet cookbook
Here’s a seven-day meal plan to get you started:
- • Breakfast: Greek yogurt with raspberries, topped with sliced almonds.
- • Lunch: Mediterranean salad with olive-oil-based dressing, grilled chicken, whole-wheat pita.
- • Dinner: Burrito bowl with brown rice, black beans, fajita vegetables, grilled chicken, salsa and guacamole.
- • Breakfast: Wheat toast with almond butter, scrambled eggs.
- • Lunch: Grilled chicken sandwich, blackberries, carrots.
- • Dinner: Grilled salmon, side salad with olive-oil-based dressing, brown rice.
- • Breakfast: Steel-cut oatmeal with strawberries, hard-boiled eggs.
- • Lunch: Mexican-style salad with mixed greens, black beans, red onion, corn, grilled chicken and olive-oil-based dressing.
- • Dinner: Chicken and vegetable stir-fry, brown rice.
- • Breakfast: Greek yogurt with peanut butter and banana.
- • Lunch: Baked trout, collard greens, black-eyed peas.
- • Dinner: Whole-wheat spaghetti with turkey meatballs and marinara sauce, side salad with olive-oil-based dressing.
- • Breakfast: Wheat toast with avocado, omelet with peppers and onions.
- • Lunch: Chili made with ground turkey.
- • Dinner: Greek-seasoned baked chicken, oven-roasted potatoes, side salad, wheat dinner roll.
- • Breakfast: Overnight oats with strawberries.
- • Lunch: Fish tacos on whole wheat tortillas, brown rice, pinto beans.
- • Dinner: Chicken gyro on whole-wheat pita, cucumber and tomato salad.
- • Breakfast: Spinach frittata, sliced apple and peanut butter.
- • Lunch: Tuna salad sandwich on wheat bread, plus carrots and celery with hummus.
- • Dinner: Curry chicken, brown rice, lentils.
Does the MIND Diet work?
It’s very possible you’ll lose weight by following the MIND diet plan. While the MIND study was not geared toward weight loss, the brain-unhealthy foods restricted in the MIND diet such as whole dairy products, pastries, sweets and fried foods – are also tied to weight gain.
So by avoiding these foods, you will lose pounds while also staving off dementia. As for the two diets which the MIND diet was based on, research has linked both the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet to weight loss and being less likely to be overweight or obese.
If you are still considering trying the diet here is a book and ebook which will walk you through it all to help you make up your mind: The MIND Diet book
But remember the only person who can make change happen is you, so I highly recommend you at least try it for yourself.
Anyone who is considering a major change to their diet should always talk to a doctor first.