Researchers tracked detailed eating logs of older adults, over a period of 4.5 years, and recorded who developed dementia. Those whose diets most closely resembled the MIND diet had brains as sharp as people who were 7.5 years younger. Experts at the Mayo Clinic says the MIND diet “goes big on natural plant-based foods”. Furthermore, there is a clear limit on red meat, saturated fats, and sweets.
Observational studies show that the MIND diet can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 53 percent, as well as slow cognitive decline and improve verbal memory.
What the MIND diet consists of
Firstly, the MIND diet involves three servings of whole grains daily.
Examples of whole grain include whole wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice and bulgur.
Secondly, green, leafy vegetables need to be eaten six times per week. Examples include:
- Collard greens
- Romaine lettuce.
Berries should be consumed twice weekly, and beans – such as black beans, kidney beans, and chickpeas – should be eaten three times weekly.
For non vegetarians, poultry should be eaten twice weekly, fish once weekly, and any red meat less than four times weekly.
The MIND diet also includes:
- Other vegetables at least once a day
- Nuts at least five times a week
- Fried or fast food less than once a week
- Mainly olive oil for cooking
- Less than a tablespoon of butter or margarine a day
- Less than a serving of cheese a week
- Less than five pastries or sweets a week.
The experts at the Mayo Clinic said: “You don’t have to have a perfect diet to benefit.
“While the adults in the study who followed the diet most closely (an average score of 9.6 points out of 15) saw the biggest drop in their Alzheimer’s risk, the ones who scored in the middle (7.5 points) still cut their risk by over a third.”
Dr Brunilda Nazario verified that the MIND diet is a “brain-healthy diet”.
It is a hybrid of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and the Mediterranean diet.
The MIND diet is “packed with several dietary nutrients” such as vitamin E, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, carotenoids, and flavonoids.
Dr Nazario confirmed that the MIND diet “has shown promising results for overall brain health”.
Private nutritionists or dieticians would be able to craft a MIND meal plan for you.
Alternatively, you can plan your own meals guided by the diet’s overarching theme of healthy eating.
If you are concerned you are already showing signs of dementia, book an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.