We are all in search of a diet that will keep our bodies healthy and fit. But have you ever given thought to your mind?
We mostly pay keen attention to the well-being of our bodies but forget to spare some time for our minds and this is where things go wrong.
MIND Diet as the name states is a diet designed to keep our minds healthy. It even helps in preventing dementia and even reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
The MIND Diet is a combination of two diets. The Dash Diet and the Mediterranean Diet are combined together to generate a dietary pattern that mainly focuses on brain health.
This article is a guide that will help beginners to have an understanding of the MIND Diet and how it may benefit them.
What Is The MIND Diet
Firstly, the word “MIND” in the diet stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurogenerative Delay.
This diet was developed by a nutritional epidemiologist, Martha Clare Morris. The main objective of this diet is to diminish dementia and the decline of brain health that happens due to aging.
However, this diet merges the important aspects of the two most popular diets namely the Mediterranean and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension of the DASH diet.
These diets are regarded as the healthiest diets by many experts. A number of researchers have stated that the DASH and Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and many other diseases. These diets can even lower blood pressure levels.
But this was not only the motive of the researchers, however, but they also wanted to create a diet that will improve brain functioning and prevent the occurrence of dementia.
A combination of food from both diets was done to create the MIND Diet so that it can work in an efficient way.
For instance, eating a lot of fruits is advised in the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. But intake of fruits is not a useful thing for brain functioning so instead of fruits berries are incorporated in this diet.
Therefore, the MIND Diet encourages the intake of berries but not all fruits.
Foods to Eat On The MIND Diet
You might be thinking that as MIND Diet is the blend of two diets then eating everything will make complete sense. But this is not the case at all.
You cannot have everything and anything no matter what the diet is and how the diet is planned.
There are always some sets of foods that you need to emphasize more in every diet plan. Moreover, this is even the case with the MIND Diet.
Here is the list of food that you can eat on the MIND Diet.
- Green vegetables: green and leafy vegetables are recommended in this diet. You can have six and more servings per week. Moreover, you can include salad, spinach, kale, and cooked veggies.
- Other vegetables: you can be flexible in eating any type of vegetable in this diet, especially go for green leafy veggies. On the other hand, go for a non-starchy vegetable because it has fewer calories and a lot of nutritious value.
- Berries: you can have berries once a week. Try out different types of berries each time since eating the same kind of food can cause boredom. You can go for blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries as well. Berries are highly recommended because of their antioxidant benefits.
- Nuts: you can have any kind of nuts that have good nutritious value. However, there is no specification on what type of nuts should be consumed. Five servings of nuts will be a perfect option per week.
- Olive oil: rather than opting for any other kinds of oil during cooking you should try to use olive oil.
- Whole grain: this is a common food in every diet. You can consume oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat pasta, and brown bread.
- Fish: go for fatty fish like salmon, trout, sardines, tuna, and other fishes that have omega-3 acids in them. consume fish once a week.
- Poultry: you can eat chicken or turkey. But have it once a week and try to avoid fried chicken as it is highly discouraged in the MIND Diet.
- Beans: your meals must include lentils, beans, and soybeans. You should eat beans at least four times a week.
- Wine: you can have wine but not more than one glass. You can have both white and red wine. Moreover, research has shown that red wine is good for brain functioning.
Don’t quit the MIND Diet if you are unable to consume the following targeted amount of food given in the list. Carrying out a diet on a regular basis is even helpful.
Research has shown that the intake of this food in a moderate amount can even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
The longer you can stick to this diet, the better your results will be.
Foods To Avoid On the MIND Diet
Not every food is beneficial for the functioning of the brain. So, there are some foods that you should avoid in the MIND Diet.
Here is the list:
- Cheese: it is food that you must avoid in the MIND Diet, but if you are too much addicted to cheese then you can consume it just once a week.
- Butter and margarine: you can just have one teaspoon daily. However, instead of butter, you can use olive oil for cooking and even as a dip. Add some herbs so that it has a different taste to them.
- Red and other meats: this includes pork, beef, lamb, and the products that are made out of these meats. Do not consume more than three servings per week.
- Fried food: as mentioned earlier, try to avoid fried foods and especially the ones that are served in fast-food restaurants. Consume fried foods less than once a week.
- Sweets and pastries: food items like brownies, cookies, donuts, ice creams, snake cakes, candy, and much more. In short, you should avoid junk food. Limit the intake to no more than once a week.
In the MIND Diet, you must avoid food items that have saturated fat and trans fat in them. trans fat is responsible for many diseases such as heart attack and even Alzheimer’s. On the other hand, the consumption of saturated fat in excess amounts can lead to poor brain health.
Benefits of the MIND Diet
The main goal of creating the MIND Diet is to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the research held by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, more than half a million Americans below the age of 65 are suffering from some form of dementia.
However, Morris and her team have found out that by following the MIND Diet the risk of Alzheimer’s can be reduced up to 56 percent compared to any other diet. Moreover, it even helped 35 percent of people who followed the diet moderately.
According to studies held on the MIND Diet, it shows that when a person follows the diet religiously it provides better protection from the malfunctioning of the brain.
These benefits and even be acquired from the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet as well. But the rate of progress is slow and steady. If you intend to get better results, then aim not to quit and continue with the correct mindset.
If you think that the MIND Diet is only for the well-being of the mind then you are wrong. It is even beneficial in reducing blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and even helps in reducing weight.
As MIND Diet is a combination of the Mediterranean diet, therefore it even helps in reducing cholesterol levels. On the other hand, there will be less rate of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
MIND Diet Decreases Oxidative Stress and Inflammation
Oxidative stress occurs due to the accumulation of unstable molecules in large amounts. This problem causes damage to the cells and in most cases, it drastically affects our brains.
On the other hand, inflammation is the natural response of the body to any infection and injury but if it’s not done in a proper manner then can be harmful and as well as lead to chronic diseases.
As a whole, inflammation and oxidative stress are harmful to brain functioning. For years, many experiments and examinations have been conducted to figure out the ways to reduce both of the issues and lastly, researchers have found a solution.
The Mediterranean diet and DASH diet help in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress and as MIND Diet is the hybrid version of both diets. It will reduce oxidative stress and inflammation as well.
Tips for Following the MIND Diet
It might sometimes seem to you that it’s very hard to carry on the diet.
Demotivation will lead to quitting the diet and this is what we do not want for you.
This section of the article is about the tips for following the MIND Diet when you are turning back from the diet.
- If a green salad is not your favorite food item, then pair it with soup or a sandwich and include a salad with your dinners.
- You can keep unsalted nuts in a container and keep it handy so that you can snack on them whenever you feel the need.
- You are not restricted from having smoothies, so if berries are something that bores you then make a smoothie using yogurt and drink it whenever you want.
- For the primary source of protein consumes fish, skinless chicken, and beans. Try something different every day to add variety.
- Rather than going on with meat try lentil soup, bean burritos, grilled tofu, and kabobs.
These are the tips that you can follow when you find yourself wavering. You can be slow and steady but do not quit the diet completely.
Sample Meal Plan for The Mind Diet
Meals for MIND Diet is not a complicated thing. It can be easily done if you follow the list of food items that we have mentioned in one of the previous sections. But for you to be comfortable here is a sample of meal plans for a week.
- Breakfast: Wheat Toast with Almond Butter and Boiled Egg
- Lunch: Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Berries
- Dinner: Grilled Salmon with Salad
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with Strawberries
- Mexican Style Salad with Grilled Chicken
- Dinner: Vegetable and Chicken Stir Fry
- Breakfast: Greek Yogurt with Peanut Butter
- Lunch: Baked Trout and Black-Eyed Peas
- Dinner: Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Turkey Balls
- Breakfast: Wheat Toast with Avocado and Banana
- Lunch: Grounded Turkey with Brown Bread
- Dinner: Salad with Baked Chicken
- Breakfast: Strawberries and Other Fruits
- Lunch: Fish Tacos with Brown Rice
- Dinner: Chicken Gyro with Tomato Salad and Cucumber
- Breakfast: Sliced Apple and Peanut Butter
- Lunch: Tuna Sandwich and Salad
- Dinner: Brown Rice and Lentils
- Breakfast: Greek Yogurt with Raspberries
- Lunch: Grilled Chicken and Mediterranean Salad
- Dinner: Brown Rice, Grilled Chicken, and Salad.
Final Thoughts on The Mind Diet
As you can see, the Mind Diet has many benefits by being a hybrid diet. By combining parts of the Dash Diet and the Mediterranean Diet, you can reach your goal in a well-balanced way.
There are plenty of good books available on the Mind Diet available on Amazon.
Before making any major changes in your diet, it is always best to consult your doctor or dietitian. Sometimes easing into a diet plan can be the best option.
Other articles you will find helpful:
Should You Follow The Mediterranean Diet And Why
What Is Dash Diet And How It Works
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2 thoughts on “What Is The Mind Diet – A Good Place To Start”
This sounds like the diet for me! I love every one of those foods on that list!
I thought The Mind Diet was an interesting and simple approach to eating better. By taking care of our mind, this in turns helps to take care of the rest of us. We can live a better quality of life longer.