When people hear the word diet, it triggers flashes of bland, restrictive foods. They also think of foods like fruits and vegetables that help you lose weight.
I always rolled my eyes every time I heard the word diet. I also pictured a diet filled with boring salads and foods that had no variety. That is, of course, before I started this healthy blog :).
The perception of the word diet changes the more you learn about specific diets. The MIND diet is no different. The MIND diet will change the way you look at diets forever.
Let me just say there are no bland meals on the MIND diet or any diet. Well, maybe, except for the cabbage soup diet. There is no way to make cabbage soup taste delicious.
Nevertheless, it depends on how you prepare the food. For example, if you do not season your chicken breast, do not expect anything other than bland chicken. If you season your chicken, you can expect a flavorful meal.
I’m done rambling; let’s get to the MIND Diet.
What Is The MIND Diet
The MIND diet seems complicated, but it is not. The MIND diet is an acronym for the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention For Neurodegenerative Delay.
It combines parts of the Mediterranean and the Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension (DASH) diets into one diet. The MIND diet aims to decrease dementia and cognitive decline associated with aging.
Many health experts regard these diets as some of the world’s healthiest diet plans. Research shows individuals on the Mediterranean diet have a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
The diet prevented mild cognitive impairment. Additionally, participants performed better on cognitive tests than those who were not on the diet.
The DASH diet includes a variety of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It also features low-sodium and low-fat foods. The DASH diet is correlated with reduced cognitive decline.
Both diets can deter cognitive decline. But, they are not customized to support brain health.
Therefore, the MIND diet is a modified version of both diets. It is rooted in empirical evidence from the diet and dementia fields.
The MIND diet clarifies which foods you should consume. It tells you how many servings you should consume. It also tells you which foods to restrict, such as saturated fat, which are bad for brain health.
What Is Dementia
We cannot talk about the MIND diet without addressing the elephant in the room: dementia. Dementia is a condition that involves cognitive decline. With dementia, cognitive decline exceeds the average deterioration associated with aging.
Dementia may affect an individual’s ability to think, reason, or memorize information. This may inhibit their activities of daily living.
Dementia occurs due to several diseases or injuries. These diseases or injuries have primary and secondary effects on the brain. Alzheimer’s disease is the most pervasive kind of dementia and may account for 60%-70% of cases.
Dementia primarily affects older individuals. There are rare cases in which it affects young adults and middle-aged persons under the age of 65.
Dementia may seem like it does not affect many people. However, more than 55 million people across the world are affected by dementia. Almost 10 million people are diagnosed with dementia each year.
Furthermore, dementia is the 7th major cause of death among all diseases. Therefore, the MIND diet is crucial in reducing the risk of dementia and slowing cognitive decline.
Benefits Of The Mind Diet
As I mentioned above, the mind diet is based on empirical research. Martha Clare Morris and her colleagues created the original study that birthed the MIND diet in 2015.
The study evaluated 960 participants and followed them for 4.7 years. Results showed that the diet slows the decline of age-related cognitive functions like memory loss in healthy older adults.
Oxidative stress and inflammation can have long-term effects on the nervous system. These effects can decrease motor and cognitive functioning in the brain.
The MIND diet uses foods that have beneficial compounds like polyphenols and antioxidants. These compounds can have a reverse effect on stress and inflammation.
The MIND diet is also associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The MIND diet has a greater effect on preventing cognitive decline than the Mediterranean and Dash diets.
A study examined the effect of the MIND diet on cognitive function and cognitive decline. In total, the study observed 16,058 women who were 70 or older. The results showed the MIND diet was moderately correlated to improved verbal memory in old age.
How Does The MIND Diet Work
We’ve come to the most important part of the article.
Yes, knowing the benefits of the MIND diet are important. However, knowing what foods you can eat on the MIND diet will help you stay on the diet and reap the full benefits.
The MIND diet limits animal products with high levels of saturated fat. It also restricts foods with added sugars. Another huge part of the diet is that it suggests portion control. But, unlike most diets, weight loss is not the main goal.
The mind diet highlights 10 food groups persons should consume. Persons should 3 servings of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. They should also eat 3 servings of nuts or berries daily for a snack. Additionally, 1-2 portions of fish, beans, and poultry are allowed weekly.
Olive oil is also the preferred fat for cooking food on the MIND diet.
Meats are not entirely erased from the diet. However, it is one of the 5 food groups you should consume sparingly.
The MIND diet suggests substituting meat with beans and legumes. Beans and legumes contain protein which is beneficial for brain health.
The MIND diet is an amalgamation of the Mediterranean and DASH diets. It plays a role in reducing dementia and age-related cognitive decline. Therefore, you should give the MIND diet a try.
I hope you enjoyed this snapshot of the MIND Diet.
Do you think the MIND diet is something you’d be interested in? Comment down below.