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The MIND Diet: What To Eat For A Healthy Brain

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by China Logarta · Updated Mar 08, 2023

    The MIND Diet: What To Eat For A Healthy Brain

    What you eat affects brain aging. In fact, eating some foods and avoiding others can curb brain aging by 7.5 years and lessen the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The MIND diet combines two evidence-based diets – the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet. It prescribes food that supports brain health and holds back cognitive deterioration. Alzheimer’s causes changes in a person’s cognition, memory, behavior and social activities. It affects that part of the brain involved in learning, and as a result, disrupts normal life. Although it mostly affects people 65 and older, it is not a normal part of aging. This diet can help delay the disease for which there is no cure.

    What’s in the MIND diet?

    As the name suggests, the Mediterranean diet takes from eating habits in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. It typically includes fruits, veggies, bread, grains, beans nuts, and olive oil. While dairy, eggs, fish, and poultry are eaten in moderation. The DASH diet – Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension – focuses on food that helps prevent high blood pressure.

    So what does one eat in the MIND diet?

    Up your veggie intake

    Vegetables contain various nutrients like vitamin E, K, beta-carotene, and folate. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, lettuce, and collard greens are proven to cut the risk of dementia. A study showed that beta-carotene has antioxidant effects capable of stalling cognitive decline. Folate, meanwhile, is necessary for the correct development of the neural tube in unborn babies. A deficiency is related to dementia and depression. Studies showed that vitamins E and K could delay Alzheimer’s. In the MIND diet, one serving of vegetables per day together with other nutrient-rich foods could help delay age-related cognitive deficit.

    Eat berries

    A study conducted over 20 years found that adults who consumed the most strawberries and blueberries showed the slowest rates of cognitive decline. It’s credited to flavonoids, a substance that has proven links to lowered cognitive deterioration.

    Snack on nuts

    The MIND diet also recommends nuts, which contain fat-soluble vitamin E. Make sure to pick dry-roasted or raw ones; they should also be unsalted and free of sugar and oils.

    Use olive oil for cooking

    When you do consume oils, avoid butter or margarine. Use “extra virgin” olive oil. As much as possible, get those in opaque or dark-colored bottles, as light causes them to spoil faster.

    Reduce meat

    The MIND diet suggests replacing meat with beans and lentils, which contain both protein and fiber. They are packed with B vitamins, which may prevent dementia and promote the production of neurotransmitters. These deliver messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

    Eat more fish

    A study of adults 65 and older found that those who ate fish once a week performed better on memory tests and number games than those who ate seafood less often. However, there is little research that having it more than once a week carried extra benefits to the brain.

    Have a glass of wine every now and then

    Wine lovers, rejoice! Studies showed that light to moderate drinking could actually decrease the chances of dementia developing. It could even also delay onset of Alzheimer’s by two to three years. A theory as to why is that wine promotes blood flow, making it less sticky and less prone to clotting.

    Key Takeaway

    The MIND diet was formed from two science-backed diets, with the idea that these foods support brain health and a delay cognitive decline. This is especially useful for people who are at risk for neurodegenerative disease, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. All over the world, 11 million people suffer from it, and it largely affects people 65 years old and above.

    Know more about Healthy Eating and Special Diets here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


    Written by China Logarta · Updated Mar 08, 2023

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