The MIND diet reduces risk by 50%.

The MIND diet encourages eating certain foods and avoiding other foods to help prevent or delay cognitive decline. It includes elements from other diets to promote healthy eating habits that may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

Cognitive impairment refers to difficulties with memory, learning, or processing thoughts. Although many people consider this to be a normal part of aging, it is not inevitable. It is therefore important to maintain brain health, which may involve eating a nutritious and balanced diet. The MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), and it has shown promising results in preventing cognitive decline. With a few simple dietary changes, people who follow this diet can take steps to keep their brain healthy and help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Here’s the MIND diet in detail, including foods to include and avoid, and a sample meal plan for you.

Mind Diet Definition

The MIND diet uses aspects of the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet. Previous research suggested that these diets may help preserve cognitive function. That’s why researcher Martha Claire Morris, MD, professor of epidemiology, director of the Department of Nutrition and Nutritional Epidemiology in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago combined these diets to create MIND (Mediterranean Intervention – DASH to Delay Neurodegeneration).

The traditional Mediterranean diet consists mainly of grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts and fish. It may also include small amounts of meat, eggs, dairy products, and alcohol. The DASH diet focuses on fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. You can also eat whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts, but you should limit your intake of saturated fats, red meat, and sugars. The Mind Diet combines these dietary patterns by encouraging the consumption of many plant foods, as well as fish and poultry, while trying to avoid saturated fats and added sugars. What makes this diet special is its focus on daily and weekly recommendations for specific foods and food groups.

For example, it recommends eating two or more servings of vegetables per day, but states that at least one serving should consist of green leafy vegetables. Evidence suggests that the MIND diet may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by about 53% or 35%, depending on whether a person follows the diet strict or well. Although more research is needed to confirm these findings, this diet may be a promising strategy to help prevent or delay cognitive decline. However, it is advisable to discuss any change in diet with a doctor before implementing it.

The purpose of the MIND diet

The goal of the MIND diet is to help improve brain function and contribute to cognitive flexibility in older adults. There is evidence that factors related to a healthy lifestyle, such as a good diet, can have beneficial effects on the brain. As such, following this diet may help slow cognitive decline and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. For example, a 2022 study suggests that better adherence to the MIND diet is associated with a lower risk of dementia.

Similarly, a 2021 study suggests that the MIND diet may improve cognitive function scores in high-risk groups. Combined with exercises and cognitive training programs, these diets can be a useful tool against dementia. Additionally, other evidence shows a possible link between following the MIND diet closely and slowing cognitive decline after stroke.

Advantages

Evidence suggests that the MIND diet may provide multiple benefits for a range of people. In addition to helping reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, it can help prevent cardiovascular disease and even some forms of cancer.

Many factors can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. While people cannot change some risk factors, such as age and genes, they can control others, including exercise, cognitive training, and diet. The authors of a 2019 review note that some diets, such as the MIND diet, may help protect the brain through their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Likewise, the Mediterranean and DASH diets hold promise for promoting cardiovascular health. Since the MIND diet includes elements of these two diets, it is likely to be beneficial for heart health as well.

A 2021 study also identified a link between following the MIND diet and a lower risk of breast cancer. However, more research is needed to explore the links between diet and cancer.

Risks

Current data do not link the MIND diet to specific risks. However, people are advised to discuss the diet with a medical professional to determine if it is appropriate for them. Some of the foods recommended in the MIND diet may not be suitable for everyone, due to allergies, intolerances, or food preferences. In these cases, a person may wish to discuss other possible diets with a doctor or dietitian.

Foods to include

The Mind Diet Trusted Source lists 15 food ingredients that you should eat or avoid. The 10 types of foods people who follow the MIND diet can eat are:

– green leafy vegetables
All the other vegetables
– raspberry
– Nut
– olive oil
– All grains
– fish
– beans
– Poultry
– wine

There are also recommendations about how often people following the MIND diet should consume the foods listed above. For example, in addition to daily vegetables, a person should consume 3 or more servings of minimally processed whole grains per day and two or more servings of berries per week.

Foods to avoid

The MIND diet also identifies the types of foods to avoid. Since it is not always possible to completely avoid these foods, efforts should be made to limit them as much as possible.

People should strive to include less:

One tablespoon of butter or margarine daily
One serving of cheese per week
4 servings of red meat per week
One serving of fast food or fried food per week, on average
– 5 servings of pastries and desserts per week

meal plan sample

Currently, there are no specific guidelines for following the MIND diet. Instead, the goal is to eat more of the recommended 10 foods and less of the other five non-nutritive foods. Therefore, your meal plan may include:

breakfast

Oatmeal is a convenient option for breakfast. A bowl of oatmeal meets MIND’s whole-grain diet requirements, and people can add toppings like fresh blueberries and nuts to add vitamins and minerals.

to eat lunch

For lunch, a suitable option is a pasta salad, which you can prepare in advance. She can start with a whole-wheat pasta base and add additional ingredients, such as spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, and chickpeas. She can then sprinkle olive oil and balsamic vinegar and add a pinch of salt and pepper to complete the meal.

In case

Nuts can be a useful snack to have on the go. Another solution is to eat a piece of whole wheat bread covered with a thin layer of nut butter.

having dinner

For a large and nutritious dinner, you can cook a lean chicken breast with fresh herbs, then top with juice of fresh lemon. They can serve it with a side of quinoa and kale.

The MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. It encourages consumption of certain foods, such as whole grains, vegetables and poultry, while limiting other foods, such as those high in saturated fats and added sugars. This flexible eating pattern focuses on daily and weekly recommendations for specific foods and food groups.

Although more research is still needed, there is some evidence that the MIND diet is associated with lower rates of cognitive decline, which may help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. This diet may supplement other healthy lifestyle factors, such as exercise and cognitive training, to help protect brain health.

sources

Cherian, L.; , and others. (2019). The Mediterranean Intervention Diet for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) slows cognitive decline after stroke.

DASH intake plan. (2021).

De Krum, Tu, et al. (2022). The MIND diet and risk of dementia: a population study.

Dhana, K, et al. (2021). The MIND diet, common brain diseases, and cognition in older adults in the community.

Klimova, B, et al. (2020). The effect of a healthy diet on cognitive performance among healthy older adults–a mini review.

Marcasson, W (2015). What are the components of the MIND diet? (2015).

McGratan, AM, et al. (2019). Diet and inflammation in cognitive aging and Alzheimer’s disease.

Morris, MC, et al. (2015). The MIND diet is associated with a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.

* Presse Santé strives to impart medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In no way can the information provided replace medical advice.

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