The MIND Diet: Everything You Need To Know
We’ve all heard of diets that aim to improve our physical health. Whether it’s cutting out carbs or meat or eating more protein, we’ve all tried, tested, succeeded and failed with these type of diets in an effort to get our body in shape. But have you ever thought about how your diet choice is affecting your brain??
The MIND diet is a diet that is designed, first and foremost, to improve brain health and reduce your risk of Dementia and other diseases which cause cognitive decline. There are physical benefits too, of course but it's mainly all about the brain. After all, the brain is too often overlooked in modern healthy eating culture. The MIND diet emerged from a study by Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, where two prominent diets were combined - The mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. The researchers combined the elements of these diets which were thought to be beneficial for brain health and created the MIND diet. Some 960 participants were involved in the study, over a 5 year period, which ultimately concluded that following the MIND diet strictly decreased their likelihood of being diagnosed with Dementia by up to 52%! These results clearly add significant weight to the links between brain health and diet, and go some way towards proving that healthy eating can be a factor in preventing Dementia. So what actually is the MIND diet? Well it’s actually not really much of a diet at all, at least not in the same way as others you may have tried before. The diet only emerged in 2015, and so proper guidelines on how to follow the diet are still being developed. Instead the diet currently consists of a list of ‘healthy’ foods which followers are encouraged to eat, and a list of ‘unhealthy’ foods which should be avoided. See below for a full list. If following the MIND diet, you should aim to maximise your intake of the healthy foods and significantly reduce your intake of the unhealthy foods. ‘Brain-healthy’ Foods
Green leafy vegetables - Kale, spinach etc.
Other vegetables, such as red peppers, squash, carrots and broccoli
Berries, including blueberries and strawberries
Beans, lentils and soybeans
Wine (in moderation)
Butter and stick margarine
Pastries and sweets
Fried or fast food
Finally, don’t forget that whilst the MIND diet has been shown to reduce risks of Dementia, diet is only one factor. The best way to prevent Dementia is by combining a range of lifestyle factors and building a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, brain training, regular social interaction as well as a healthy diet!