The MIND Diet - Prevent Alzheimer's and Much More!

Have you heard of the MIND diet? Although scientists have yet to discover the exact reason or cause behind Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, there are a few things they do know. Diet does play a role in the development of this disease. The MIND eating plan is meant to prevent Alzheimer’s by eating foods known to improve the brain.

21 Day Fix ContainersThe premise behind the MIND diet is that you eat at least 3 servings of whole grains, 1 salad, and at least two servings of vegetables daily.

What Is The MIND Diet?

This eating plan is a hybrid of two balanced, heart healthy diets designed for those who have a history of dementia in their families. By mixing food items from the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet, the MIND diet picks foods that are known to support brain health. The MIND diet stand for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, which is a mouthful, but fairly easy to understand.

This was actually designed by a nutritionist at the Rush University Medical Center, Martha Morris, through a study which was funded by the National Institute on Aging.

How Does It Work?

The basic premise behind the MIND diet is that you eat at least 3 servings of whole grains, 1 salad, and at least two servings of vegetables. You also get to drink one glass (5 ounces) of red wine each day, but this isn’t mandatory. If you don’t want the alcohol, you could drink pure, unsweetened red grape juice instead.

Most days offer you a snack consisting of nuts, every other day you eat a half cup of beans, and twice a week you eat a half cup serving of berries (the diet recommends blueberries, but if those are not available, any berry will do).

Fish is consumed at least 1 day each week and twice a week you eat poultry. Olive oil is used for cooking, rather than butter, margarine, or other cooking oils.

What you limit are the unhealthy foods. Less than 4 servings of red meat each week and less than 5 servings each week of sweets or pastries. You are allowed 1 teaspoon of butter each day, and only 1 serving of cheese, fried food, or fast food.

Although there are no actual restrictions regarding calories, the idea is to replace unhealthy choices with more natural, healthy foods.

What Did the Study Show?

Researchers followed 923 persons over an almost 5 year time period. Those who followed the MIND diet had a much lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s (an incredible 35% lower risk!) over the placebo group.

Will I Lose Weight?

Although this diet plan was not actually designed for weight loss, most people find that they do lose weight on this diet, due to its emphasis on vegetables and avoidance of sweets and fried foods.

The Advantages

The MIND diet is well balanced and fairly easy to follow. There are no special foods to buy and nothing to weigh or measure.

The Disadvantages

Since the focus of this diet is fresh fruits and vegetables, it might end up costing you more than cheap, unhealthy foods.

If you are accustomed to eating a great deal of fried foods and red meat, you might feel as if you are “missing out” at first, but those feelings will pass in a few days.

Sample Diet Plan

  • Breakfast- 6 ounces of Greek yogurt topped with ½ cup of blueberries and ½ cup of strawberries. One slice of whole grain toast topped with half of a mashed avocado
  • Snack – 1/3 cup of unsalted almonds.
  • Lunch – A chicken sandwich containing 2 slices of whole grain bread, ¾ cup of cooked chicken breast and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard. A salad consisting of 1 cup of mixed greens, 1 cup of cucumber slices, ½ cup of sliced tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds, and 1 teaspoon Italian dressing.
  • Dinner – 3 ounces of grilled salmon topped with 1 teaspoon of mustard and 1 teaspoon of tarragon, ½ cup of couscous, ½ cup of steamed zucchini and 4 spears of asparagus. A salad consisting of ½ cup of baby spinach, ½ cup of arugula, 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette dressing (made with olive oil), and one 5 ounce glass of red wine (wine is optional).
  • Snack – ½ cup of almonds.

The Bottom Line

As you can see from the above menu, this is a super heart health and brain healthy diet that will probably cause you to lose some weight, especially when combined with 30 minutes of exercise each day.