What Is the MIND Diet?
The MIND diet is a brain-healthy diet that prevents and delays neurodegeneration. The full form of MIND is Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. This MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets — Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, an eating plan to lower or control high blood pressure. The MIND diet includes food groups that boost brain function, prevent memory loss, and reduce blood pressure. We`ll discuss how the MIND diet works, its benefits, and which foods to eat and those to avoid if you plan on getting on the diet. We`ll also give you a sample seven-day recipe to get you going on this super-healthy diet. Keep reading!
How Does the MIND Diet Work?
The MIND diet entails reducing the consumption of unhealthy foods and increasing the intake of foods that contain healing properties. Unhealthy foods cause inflammation, and as a result, damage brain cells, cellular function, and DNA. Recommended foods on the MIND diet reduce inflammation, restore DNA structure, and enhance brain and cellular function. The MIND diet also lowers the risks of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, and also improves metabolic health.
5 Benefits of the MIND Diet
What does your body benefit from the MIND diet? How is it a better diet than some others, or even better than not being on any diet? Let`s look into some of the benefits of the MIND diet.
Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
The MIND diet recommends eating plant-based foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, fiber, phytochemicals, and complex carbs. MIND diet foods are popular for reducing the risk of heart disease. Olive oil, which is the primary fat in the MIND diet, helps prevent irregular heartbeat, heart failure, and plaque build-up in the arteries. If you`re particular about preventing heart disease, or perhaps you`re at risk of it, then the MIND diet is for you.
Reduces Oxidative Stress
The MIND diet recommends consuming foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Such foods are nuts, olive oil, and fatty fish. It is a generally accepted fact that omega-3 fatty acids help us avoid the harm that free radicals cause, and reduce oxidative stress.
Many recommended foods on the MIND diet are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These foods help to balance the omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids ratio, and that, to a large extent, reduces inflammation.
Reduces Harmful Proteins
The MIND diet is popular for the reduction of harmful proteins in the body. Have you ever heard of beta-amyloid proteins? They`re harmful protein fragments that may cause the build-up of plaques in the brain, and as a result, lead to the death of brain cells. This may eventually lead to the development of Alzheimer’s. The MIND diet ensures you consume less saturated fats, thereby lowering the levels of beta-amyloid proteins.
Reduces the Risk of Diabetes
Consuming high amounts of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables — which are recommended foods on the MIND diet — will improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. If you`re at risk of type-2 diabetes or you only want to take preventive measures, then you should consider getting on the MIND diet.
9 Foods to Eat on the MIND Diet
Nuts are undeniably a healthy snack. They contain healthy fat, protein, vitamin E, minerals, and dietary fiber. The MIND diet requires that each week, you consume five servings of nuts like pistachios, walnuts, macadamia, almonds, and pine nuts.
The MIND diet includes nutrients that benefit brain health, and berries fall in this category. On the MIND diet, you should consume at least two servings of up to three types of berries each day. You may have some raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries.
The MIND diet requires that you incorporate eggs, ground turkey and poached or steamed chicken breast in your diet at least twice a week. You`re advised to avoid fried chicken or egg yolk if you have high cholesterol.
Veggies are essential on the MIND diet. Have at least six servings of leafy vegetables like collard greens, Swiss chard, spinach, kale, bok choy, lettuce, and radish greens each week, and a serving of non-starchy veggies every day.
With four servings of lentils, black beans, soybeans, kidney beans, and black-eyed peas every week, you`re good to go on the MIND diet.
Red wine contains resveratrol that protects the heart and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Your recommended quantity of red wine on the MIND diet is half a glass per day.
Olive oil is a necessary part of the MIND diet. The oil is a healthy fat with a nutritious dose of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Make it your main cooking oil and salad dressing.
Fatty fish like mackerel, sardine, tuna, trout, salmon, and silver carp are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are popular for lowering inflammation and oxidative stress. Omega-3 fatty acids are also responsible for neuronal plasticity, which is the brain`s ability to change its structure and function in response to internal and external constraints or goals. Consuming wild-caught fish at least once a week will do your brain some good.
Planning on getting on the MIND diet? Be ready to consume some whole grains often. You`re advised to consume at least three servings of quinoa, oats, whole-grain bread and brown rice every day.
5 Foods to Avoid on the MIND Diet
Are you a lover of red meat? You need to drastically reduce your red meat consumption on the MIND diet. Red meat contains high amounts of saturated fat that are unhealthy for heart and brain health. If you must, limit your red meat intake to 1-2 serving(s) per week.
Butter and Margarine
As tasty as they are, reduce your butter and margarine consumption to a tablespoon per day.
Your cheese consumption has to reduce to a serving per week if you are on the MIND diet.
Fries, chicken nuggets, fried chicken, and other fast foods are a no-no on the MIND diet. They are packed with unhealthy fats and may increase oxidative stress levels, making them unhealthy for the brain, especially in high quantities.
High-Salt and High-Sugar Foods
The MIND diet considers salty and sugary foods unhealthy for you. So avoid burgers, salted nuts, frozen meats, sauces, canned foods, potato, candies, and wafers.
A 7-Day MIND Diet Meal Plan
Planning to get on the MIND diet? Here`s what a full week`s meal looks like on this brain-healthy diet.
Breakfast: Berry smoothie bowl
Lunch: Tuna salad with olive oil and lime juice dressing
Dinner: Kidney bean chili
Breakfast: Spinach omelet
Lunch: Mushroom or chicken soup
Dinner: Grilled salmon and blanched veggies
Breakfast: Oatmeal + berries + almonds
Lunch: Steak with grilled veggies
Dinner: Tofu salad
Breakfast: Scrambled egg whites + ½ avocado + 1 whole-grain toast
Lunch: Asian-style chicken and brown rice
Dinner: Lentil soup
Breakfast: Spinach and banana smoothie with flaxseed powder
Lunch: Vegetable quinoa + 1 cup buttermilk
Dinner: Baked salmon with veggies
Breakfast: 1 whole-grain toast with 2 teaspoons butter + 1 poached egg
Lunch: Turkey taco + yogurt
Dinner: Cucumber soup + grilled salmon
Breakfast: Mushroom and avocado toast + juice of ½ grapefruit
Lunch: Vegetable semolina topped with toasted nuts
Dinner: Cream of mushroom soup