If you thought the title referred to your opinions, think again. The more correct question should be what’s on your MIND Diet? That’s right. Although the diet has been around for a few years, we don’t hear much about it. But maybe we should.
Rush University Medical Center developed a diet to slow cognitive decline, namely Alzheimer’s disease, in older adults. The diet combined the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets and was referred to as the MIND Diet―Mediterranean–DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.
How significant is finding a diet to thwart this leading neurodegenerative condition―Alzheimer’s disease? More than five million people over age sixty-five are affected. The MIND diet may lower the risk of this disease by more than 50 percent. Even those inconsistent in following the diet can cut their risk by 35 percent.
The MIND diet has fifteen dietary components with ten brain-healthy groups and five unhealthy-brain food groups. See how closely you follow this diet to keep your brain functioning at its peak.
- Green leafy vegetables: Six servings or more per week of foods like spinach, kale, and salad greens.
- Other vegetables: At least one-half cup cooked or one cup raw once a day.
- Nuts: Five servings per week. One-third cup equals a serving.
- Berries: Three servings per week. Blueberries and strawberries are the best choices for a positive impact on the mind.
- Beans: Three or more servings per week. These include one-half cup of cooked lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, and similar varieties.
- Whole grains: Three or more servings per day. Look for labels that say “100 percent whole grain.”
- Fish: At least once per week. Salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, and sardines are preferred choices.
- Poultry: Two or more servings per week. Remove skin and bake, broil, grill, or roast. Avoid frying.
- Olive oil: Use as the main choice for cooking oil.
- Wine: No more than one glass a day.
- Red meats: Less than four servings a week. Use lean cuts and trim fat from those you do eat.
- Butter/margarine: Less than a tablespoon daily.
- Cheese: One serving each week. Most cheeses are high in fat and sodium. Swiss cheese is low in both and can add more cheese servings per week.
- Pastries and sweets: Less than five servings a week. These contain high levels of sugar, fat, and sodium.
- Fried or fast food: Less than one serving a week.
While this diet has many beneficial qualities that may lower the risks of many health issues―hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other maladies present as we age―there are drawbacks. Due to high levels of potassium and phosphorus, those with kidney disease should avoid this diet. Increased consumption of whole grains and other higher calorie foods may be inappropriate for those with diabetes.
For most of us, efforts to closely follow this diet may keep minds sharp and prevent Alzheimer’s disease. For this eating plan to become a part of our lifestyle, keeping a chart for several weeks helps. Below is one example.
To borrow from part of a cliché, the mind is a terrible thing to let waste away. Keep it healthier with the MIND Diet.