The MIND diet is a diet designed to prevent cognitive decline, and is a combination of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet.
10 Foods to Eat on the MIND Diet
Here are the 10 foods the MIND diet encourages:
• Green, leafy vegetables: Aim for six or more servings per week. This includes kale, spinach, cooked greens and salads.
• All other vegetables: Try to eat another vegetable in addition to the green leafy vegetables at least once a day. It is best to choose non-starchy vegetables because they have a lot of nutrients with a low number of calories.
• Berries: Eat berries at least twice a week. Although the published research only includes strawberries, you should also consume other berries like blueberries, raspberries and blackberries for their antioxidant benefits (5, 6).
• Nuts: Try to get five servings of nuts or more each week. The creators of the MIND diet don’t specify what kind of nuts to consume, but it is probably best to vary the type of nuts you eat to obtain a variety of nutrients.
• Olive oil: Use olive oil as your main cooking oil. Check out this article for information about the safety of cooking with olive oil.
• Whole grains: Aim for at least three servings daily. Choose whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and 100% whole-wheat bread.
• Fish: Eat fish at least once a week. It is best to choose fatty fish like salmon, sardines, trout, tuna and mackerel for their high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
• Beans: Include beans in at least four meals every week. This includes all beans, lentils and soybeans.
• Poultry: Try to eat chicken or turkey at least twice a week. Note that fried chicken is not encouraged on the MIND diet.
• Wine: Aim for no more than one glass daily. Both red and white wine may benefit the brain. However, much research has focused on the red wine compound resveratrol, which may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease (7, 8).
If you are unable to consume the targeted amount of servings, don’t quit the MIND diet altogether. Research has shown that following the MIND diet even a moderate amount is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease (9).
When you’re following the diet, you can eat more than just these 10 foods. However, the more you stick to the diet, the better your results may be.
According to research, eating more of the 10 recommended foods and less of the foods to avoid has been associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and better brain function over time (9, 10).
The MIND diet encourages the consumption of all kinds of vegetables, berries, nuts, olive oil, whole grains, fish, beans, poultry and a moderate amount of wine.
5 Foods to Avoid on the MIND Diet
The MIND diet recommends limiting the following five foods:
• Butter and margarine: Try to eat less than 1 tablespoon (about 14 grams) daily. Instead, try using olive oil as your primary cooking fat, and dipping your bread in olive oil with herbs.
• Cheese: The MIND diet recommends limiting your cheese consumption to less than once per week.
• Red meat: Aim for no more than three servings each week. This includes all beef, pork, lamb and products made from these meats.
• Fried food: The MIND diet highly discourages fried food, especially the kind from fast-food restaurants. Limit your consumption to less than once per week.
• Pastries and sweets: This includes most of the processed junk food and desserts you can think of. Ice cream, cookies, brownies, snack cakes, donuts, candy and more. Try to limit these to no more than four times a week.