The ‘MIND’ diet is intended to stop dementia and loss of cognitive function as you age

The DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet are two of the healthiest diets, according to many experts. Picture: Pexels

The DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet are two of the healthiest diets, according to many experts. Picture: Pexels

Published Jan 19, 2023


It combines elements of the Mediterranean diet with the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, two highly well-known eating plans.

The DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet are two of the healthiest diets, according to many experts. According to Dr Christina D Filippou et al in their paper, “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet and Blood Pressure Reduction in Adults with and without Hypertension: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials”, research has shown that they can lower blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and several other diseases.

However, scientists sought to develop a diet designed particularly to support better brain health and guard against dementia. They mixed items from the DASH and Mediterranean diets, which have been demonstrated to improve brain function, to achieve this.

For instance, both the DASH and Mediterranean diets advise consuming a lot of fruit. According to a research titled “Dietary intakes of berries and flavonoids in connection to cognitive decline”, fruit consumption has not been linked to enhanced brain health.

So, while the MIND diet does not emphasise fruit consumption in general, it does advocate eating berries.

There are no specific rules for how to adhere to the MIND diet at the moment. Simply increase your intake of the 10 items that the diet suggests and decrease your intake of the five foods that it advises you to avoid.

Ten items to include in the MIND diet

According to Dr Elizabeth E Devore’s study, the following 10 foods are recommended as part of the MIND diet:

Incorporate six or more servings of green, leafy vegetables each week. Kale, spinach, cooked greens and salads fall under this category.

All other vegetables: Aim to consume an additional vegetable, except green leafy ones, at least once every day. Non-starchy veggies are the greatest option since they are high in nutrients and low in calories.

Berries: At least twice a week, consume berries. Berries with antioxidant properties include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.

Nuts: Aim to consume five servings or more of nuts per week. The MIND diet's designers didn’t specify what sort of nuts to eat, although it’s definitely better to mix up your nut intake to get a range of nutrients.

Use olive oil as your primary cooking oil.

Incorporate at least three servings of whole grains each day. Pick whole grains like 100% whole wheat bread, quinoa, oats, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta.

Fish: Consume fish no less than once a week. For their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish like salmon, sardines, trout, tuna and mackerel are the best options.

Beans: At least four meals every week should include beans. All types of beans, lentils and soya beans fall under this group.

Poultry: Make an effort to consume chicken or turkey twice a week or more. Be aware that the MIND diet discourages eating fried chicken.

Limit your intake of wine to one glass each day. Your brain may benefit from drinking red or white wine. Resveratrol, a substance found in red wine, has garnered a lot of interest, but new studies have questioned whether it has any definite advantages for humans.

Don’t give up on the MIND diet entirely if you are unable to ingest the recommended amount of servings. According to research, even a moderate adherence to the MIND diet is linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline.

You are not limited to these 10 foods when you follow the diet. However, your outcomes can be better the more you adhere to the regimen.

In a paper titled “MIND Diet Associated with Reduced Incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease”, Dr Martha Clare Morris claims that studies have shown that eating more of the 10 foods that the diet suggests consuming and less of the foods that it suggests avoiding has been linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and better brain function over time.

5 things to stay away from while following the MIND diet

The MIND diet advises cutting back on the following five items:

Try to consume no more than 1 tablespoon (or 14 grams) of butter or margarine every day. Instead, try cooking with olive oil as your main fat and dipping your bread in it when you have some fresh herbs on it.

Cheese: Consuming cheese less than once a week is advised by the MIND diet.

Limit your weekly intake of red meat to three portions. All beef, hog, lamb and goods derived from these meats fall under this category.

Fried food: The MIND diet opposes eating fried food in general and fast food in particular. Attempt to consume no more frequently than once each week.

Desserts and pastries: This category contains the majority of the processed snack foods and desserts you can imagine, such as ice cream, cookies, brownies, snack cakes, doughnuts, candies, and more. Try to keep these to four times a week or less.

Owing to the saturated and trans fats they contain, researchers advise reducing your intake of these meals.

Future studies revealing that the MIND diet provides additional health advantages linked to the Mediterranean and DASH diets won’t come as a surprise because it is a combination of these two diets.

But for now, the MIND diet is a terrific and easy-to-follow method if you’re seeking a way of eating that focuses on preserving brain function as you age.