It is well established that following the Mediterranean Diet or DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet can lead to improvements in many key areas of health. The MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Diet for Neurodegenerative Delay) is actually a combination of these two diets and has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and slow cognitive decline.
One study estimated a 53% lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease when the diet was followed closely for 4.5 years and a 35% lower risk of Alzheimer’s when the diet was followed less closely for 4.5 years.
Like the DASH and Mediterranean diet, the MIND diet encourages plant-based protein, lean animal protein sources, whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables. It also limits red meat, saturated fats and added sugars. Unique to the MIND diet is that it emphasizes having one serving of leafy greens per day and two or more servings of berries per week.
Here are the recommended foods and servings to include according to the MIND diet:
- Leafy greens - 6 or more servings/week
- Other vegetables - 1 or more servings/day
- Berries - 2 or more servings/week
- Whole grains - 3 or more servings/day
- Nuts - 5 or more servings/week
- Beans - 3 or more servings/week
- Poultry - 2 or more servings/week
- Fish - 1 or more servings/week
- Red meat - 4 or less servings/week
- Cheese - 1 or less serving/week
- Olive oil - Use as your primary source of fat
- Butter or margarine - 1 tbsp/day or less
- Fried foods or fast food - 1 or less serving/week
- Sweets - 5 or fewer servings/week
- Wine - 1 serving/day
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