Last Updated on June 14, 2023
Are you looking to improve your brain health and reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease? You should check out the MIND diet.
Let’s take a closer look at the MIND diet and explore how it can benefit your brain health.
What is the MIND diet?
The MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets.
MIND stands for “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay”.
Overall, the MIND diet is a balanced and healthy approach to eating that focuses on foods that are good for the brain. By incorporating nutrient-dense foods and limiting less healthy options, the MIND diet can improve overall brain health.
What foods are included in the MIND diet?
As we have mentioned, the MIND diet focuses on foods that are helpful for brain health such as:
- Leafy green vegetables: They are rich in vitamins and minerals that promote brain health. In particular, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect brain cells from oxidative stress.
- Other vegetables: Such as carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. These foods are high in fiber and antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and protect against cognitive decline.
- Berries: They are packed with antioxidants that have been linked to improved memory and cognitive function.
- Nuts: They provide healthy fats and complex carbohydrates that can help improve brain function.
- Fish: They contain omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are important for brain health as they help nerve cells and improve cognitive function.
- Olive oil: It is a healthy source of monounsaturated fat that can help protect against cognitive decline.
Also, wine, poultry, and whole grains are good for brain health. They can help promote brain health and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
What is the difference between the MIND diet and the DASH diet?
Here are the main differences between the two:
- Focus: The DASH diet is primarily designed to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. The MIND diet is specifically focused on brain health and reducing the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
- Food groups: Both diets emphasize a high intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. But the MIND diet specifically recommends consuming foods that are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
- Specific foods: The MIND diet recommends specific foods that support brain health. The DASH diet, on the other hand, rather encourages a balanced intake of all food groups.
- Sodium intake: The DASH diet places a strong emphasis on reducing sodium intake, while the MIND diet doesn’t have specific recommendations for sodium intake.
Overall, both the MIND and DASH diets share many similarities and are considered healthy dietary patterns that emphasize a balanced intake of foods.
MIND diet and overall health
The MIND diet emphasizes the consumption of nutrient-dense foods, providing a balanced and healthy diet that limits fewer healthy options. Thus, the MIND diet can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and improve overall brain health.
Also, while the goal of the MIND diet is to improve brain health, it may also be beneficial for heart health, diabetes, and some cancers.
In a study of participants without heart disease, participants whose eating habits were close to MIND were less likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke.
MIND diet and brain health
Several studies show that the MIND diet benefits the health of the brain.
Research suggests that these dietary patterns may help preserve cognitive function. So much so that research shows that the MIND diet can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by about 53% or 35%.
Another study highlights that the MIND diet is associated with a lower risk of dementia.
Additionally, research notes a potential link between the MIND diet and a slower rate of cognitive decline after stroke.
How do the MIND diet and intermittent fasting work together?
Intermittent fasting focuses on determining when to eat. On the other hand, the MIND diet recommends consuming certain foods for brain health. So, can you practice them together?
Here are some tips about how to do the MIND diet and intermittent fasting work together:
- If you’re new to intermittent fasting, start slow and work your way up. For example, begin with a 12:12 fast.
- During your eating window, focus on consuming foods that align with the MIND diet. This can help ensure that you’re getting the nutrients you need to support brain health.
- When breaking your fast, start with a small meal that includes a balance of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.
- Stay hydrated during your fasting window by drinking plenty of water and other non-caloric beverages.
- Listen to your body and change your fasting schedule as needed.
As a result, the MIND diet and intermittent fasting may work together to improve brain health and reduce the risk of chronic disease.