Mother always said you are what you eat. What we eat becomes more connected to our bodies every day. Now scientific evidence suggests diet plays a bigger role in brain health than we ever knew. Following a brain healthy diet (MIND diet) can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia by 35–53%. MIND diet research at Rush University followed 923 individuals aged 58–98 for more than four years. Reduction in dementia risk among those who closely or moderately followed the diet was observed.
The MIND diet combines the Mediterranean diet pattern and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet with mild calorie restriction. The MIND diet encourages minimally processed plant-based foods and limited consumption of animal foods high in saturated fat. It also encourages food found to be potentially brain protective such as green leafy vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, fish, poultry, and berries. Research continues on the effects of the MIND diet on cognitive decline in the brain.
Foods to Eat More:
- Beans, every other day
- Berries, at least twice per week
- Fish, at least once per week
- Green leafy vegetables, every day
- Other vegetables, at least once per day
- Nuts, every day
- Olive oil
- Poultry, at least twice per week
- Whole grains, three times per day
Foods to Eat Less:
- Fried food or fast food, less than one serving per week
- Pastries and sweets, no more than five servings per week
- Red meat, three 3- to 5-ounce servings per week
- Butter and stick margarine, less than one pat a day
- Whole fat cheese, one to two ounces per week
Source: Diet for the Mind, Dr. Martha Clare Morris, 2017.