By Laurel Sterling, RD
There is a growing body of evidence that shows that what you eat can affect your brain. A recent study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center demonstrates that a diet plan they developed may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 53%! This diet has been coined the MIND diet. MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. It is a combination of the well known Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Apparently, the MIND diet proved to be more effective than either diet alone. They found that those who followed either the DASH or the Mediterranean diet “moderately” had almost no drop in their Alzheimer’s risk.
The MIND diet breaks its recommendations down into 10 “brain healthy food groups” a person should eat and five “unhealthy food groups” to avoid.
Food Groups to Include:
- Green leafy vegetables (like spinach and salad greens) at least 6 servings/week
- Other vegetables – At least 1/day
- Nuts – 5 servings/week
- Berries – 2 or more servings/week
- Beans – At least 3 servings/week
- Whole grains – 3 or more servings/day
- Fish – Once/week
- Poultry (like chicken or turkey) – 2 times/week
- Olive oil – Use it as your main cooking oil
- Wine – 1 glass/day
Food Groups to Avoid:
- Red meat – Less than 4 servings/week
- Butter and margarine – Less than 1 tablespoon/day
- Cheese – Less than 1 serving/week
- Pastries and sweets – Less than 5 servings/week
- Fried or fast food – Less than 1 serving/week
They discovered that the MIND diet helped slow the rate of cognitive decline and protect against Alzheimer’s regardless of genetics and other risk factors like smoking and exercise. So let’s MIND the way we eat!