We often hear about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for cardiovascular and total-body health. However, new research has taken those benefits a step further, merging heart-healthy foods with those that also support optimal brain function as we age. The result is the MIND diet.
Developed by nutritional epidemiology professor Martha C. Morris at the Rush University Medical Center, MIND is short for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. In a nutshell, it combines the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plans, but it also recommends limiting or avoiding certain foods such as red meat, butter and margarine, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.
The basis of the MIND diet is that good nutrition has the power to protect brain health and help prevent age-related decline in cognitive function. In fact, one study found that MIND diet followers decreased their risk of developing Alzheimer’s by more than 50 percent. Ready to eat MINDfully? It starts with these 10 key food groups:
If you consider yourself a healthy eater, you’re probably off to a good start—and many components of the MIND diet will likely seem familiar. But, while each food group provides its own unique benefits, really it’s about what we eat as a whole, says Morris.