The MIND Diet: Can This Diet Plan Help Prevent or Reverse Alzheimer’s Disease?
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MIND Diet: Best Foods to Eat to Keep Your Brain Young
When we hear the word “diet,” we often associate it with things like low-calorie food, restrictions, and controlled eating.
But believe it or not, this perception of “diet” has long been dead. Those who still believe that dieting means eating low-calorie food or with a lot of restrictions are stuck in the “old-fashioned” way of dieting.
Nowadays, those on a diet are keen on becoming healthy rather than skinny. The goal of the new generation of dieters is to maintain a long-term diet plan suited to their lifestyle. This means that losing weight is no longer the main goal but rather, they are looking for a healthy diet plan that will help them become stronger and live longer.
In the Mind Diet, Can this diet work for you, certain vegies have proven to work on lots of our problems. Look at different countries and how people live many healthy but among developed countries so many over weight and health problems. Alzheimer’s Disease is just one problem.
The study found that the MIND diet lowered the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 53 percent.
Another exciting revelation is that you don’t have to follow the diet strictly to enjoy its brain-boosting benefits. Even those who moderately follow the diet may have a 35 percent reduced risk for the disease, the authors note. Still, following it closely has an upside: It’s comparable to being 7.5 years younger cognitively than people who don’t follow the diet diligently, according to a June 2015 study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. (7)
In addition to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, the MIND diet can also reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease. A 2018 study published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging found this way of eating cut the risk and delayed the progression of the disease among older people. (8)
Because this diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, you may also experience health benefits associated with these particular diets.
The DASH diet has been linked to reductions in hypertension, thereby diminishing the risk of stroke and heart attack, according to the Mayo Clinic. (9) The National Institutes of Health have also endorsed the plan for heart health, as has U.S. News & World Report, which releases annual rankings on the best popular diets. (10, 11)
Meanwhile, the Mediterranean diet is a popular plan touted by dietitians, and for good reason: A study published in the July–August 2015 issue of Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases linked the approach to improvements in blood pressure, a reduced risk of heart disease, and better insulin sensitivity. (12) That makes it a plus for anyone at risk of heart disease or anyone managing prediabetes or diabetes.
The only known disadvantage of the MIND diet (if you even want to call it a disadvantage) is that it requires patience, effort, and careful meal planning to ensure you’re consuming the right amount of food servings according to the diet’s guidelines.
To stay committed to the goal, come up with an accountability system and plan out all your meals for the week — breakfast, lunch, and dinner. More labor-intensive meals can be partially prepared ahead of time: Precut and store vegetables in plastic bowls, cut up fruit for smoothies and place in individual freezer bags, and precook your rice and beans.
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The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, or MIND diet, combines certain aspects of the Mediterranean and DASH diets to help combat mental decline.
On the MIND diet, foods like fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains are encouraged, while foods high in saturated or trans fats are limited.
Although research on the effects of the MIND diet for weight control specifically is limited, both the Mediterranean and DASH diets have been associated with increased weight loss (6Trusted Source, 35Trusted Source).
Additionally, studies show that the MIND diet may help preserve brain function with aging and be linked to a lower risk of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease (61Trusted Source, 62Trusted Source).
How Does the MIND Diet Differ From Other Diet Plans?
Although the MIND diet doesn’t specifically involve exercise, regular physical activity may also help prevent cognitive decline because movement increases blood flow to the brain and helps supply brain cells with nutrients. In fact, regular physical activity can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 50 percent, according to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation. ( 6) Therefore, exercise in conjunction with the MIND diet could provide further protection against memory loss.
MIND (an acronym that stands for the Mediterranean-DASH intervention for neurodegenerative delay) is a “hybrid of the Mediterranean diet and DASH diet, and research suggests it may reduce the risk of developing dementia or slow the decline in brain health,” says Becky Kerkenbush, RD, a clinical dietitian with Watertown Regional Medical Center in Wisconsin.
In a study published in September 2015 in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, the nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris, ScD, and her colleagues at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago referenced past studies on the dietary connection between food and cognitive decline, and then borrowed concepts from the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet — two plant-based diets — to develop a meal plan with brain-boosting benefits. (2) Thus the MIND diet was born.
Although there are similarities among all three diets, the MIND diet is the only one that encourages the consumption of foods that have been found to promote cognitive health.
The MIND diet is also different from other popular plans because there’s no calorie counting and no food groups are eliminated. The paleo diet and ketogenic (or keto) diet are more restrictive than the MIND diet, says Vanessa Rissetto, RD, a nutritionist based in Hoboken, New Jersey. Both of these popular diets minimize the consumption of whole grains, and paleo omits dairy, too. The MIND diet, on the other hand, isn’t overly restrictive and emphasizes an increased intake of foods with cognitive benefits. As a result, you’re still able to enjoy your favorite meats, sweets, and wines in moderation.
Keep in mind that while this approach is particularly beneficial to those with a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, you don’t have to be older or have a family history of the disease to benefit from this diet. “Anyone can benefit from the MIND diet due to its overall healthy eating pattern, and there are no negative side effects,” explains Kerkenbush.
Because this diet is plant-based and includes many different types of food, it is generally easy to stick with, whether you’re preparing meals at home or dining out. However, following this diet may result in a slightly higher grocery bill because of the emphasis on berries and nuts, which can be pricier than some packaged, less-healthy snacks.
To avoid hurting your budget, Dr. Morris recommended in a blog post that you occasionally eat frozen berries and use canned beans, which can be just as filling and delicious, but cheaper. You can also save money on nuts by searching for bulk deals online.
Foods to Eat on the MIND Diet
- Green leafy vegetables (like spinach and salad greens): At least six servings a week
- All other vegetables: At least one a day and choose non-starchy veggies for their low-cal/high nutrient ratio
- Nuts (a variety of kinds): Five servings a week
- Berries (like blueberries or raspberries): Two or more servings a week
- Beans (all beans, lentils and soybeans): At least three servings a week
- Whole grains (like oatmeal or quinoa): Three or more servings a day
- Fish (like salmon or trout): Once a week
- Poultry (like chicken or turkey): Two times a week
- Olive oil: Use it as your main cooking oil
- Wine: (Optional and as approved by your physician. This only applies if you are of legal drinking age.) One glass a day. Both red and white wine have benefits, but most research has focused primarily on red wine to help protect against Alzheimer’s disease
5 foods to limit on the MIND diet: Limit means you can still eat but eat less bad food and more good food for your body and health
- Red meat: Less than four servings a week
- Butter and margarine: Less than a tablespoon daily
- Cheese: Less than one serving a week
- Pastries and sweets: Less than five servings a week
- Fried or fast food: Less than one serving a week
A Sample 7-Day Meal Plan for the MIND Diet
Here’s an overview of what one week of eating on the MIND Diet might look like:
- Breakfast Banana-strawberry smoothie
- Lunch Kale Caesar salad
- Dinner Chili made with ground turkey and quinoa
- Breakfast Vegetable breakfast frittata and a slice of toast
- Lunch Tuna salad sandwich on whole-wheat bread
- Dinner Pecan-crusted chicken with roasted broccoli
- Breakfast Blueberry-walnut pancakes
- Lunch Grilled chicken sandwich on whole-wheat bread with celery and hummus
- Dinner Roasted turkey with a cabbage salad and a whole-wheat dinner roll
- Breakfast Greek yogurt with raspberries and 15 almonds
- Lunch Kale and spinach salad with carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, chickpeas, olive-oil based salad dressing, and brown rice
- Dinner Whole-wheat pasta with chicken and marinara sauce, roasted broccoli, and side salad
- Breakfast Oatmeal with blueberries and slivered almonds
- Lunch Grilled chicken, ½ pita, kale salad with chickpeas, feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, and olive oil
- Dinner Baked salmon with broccoli and Brussels sprouts (roasted in olive oil), quinoa, and a glass of wine
- Breakfast Whole-wheat bagel sandwich with 1 scrambled egg and blueberries on the side
- Lunch Turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread with tomato slice, lettuce, hummus, and baby carrots on the side
- Dinner Quinoa stir fry with sautéed vegetables, beans, and olive oil
- Breakfast Whole-wheat toast with scrambled eggs and slices of avocado
- Lunch Spinach salad with strawberries, chickpeas, slivered almonds, olive oil dressing, and a small whole-grain roll
- Dinner Grilled salmon with sautéed spinach and 1/3 cup brown rice
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The Risks and Benefits of the MIND Diet You Should Know
The most obvious and promising benefit of the MIND diet is the possibility of significantly reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
To help establish a relationship between the MIND diet and this lower risk, the 2015 study conducted at Rush University in Chicago — which has been nicknamed “The MIND Diet Study” — evaluated the incidences of Alzheimer’s disease among 923 participants who were already closely following the MIND, the DASH, and the Mediterranean diet (based on their questionnaire responses) over a five-year period.
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14. WW (formerly Weight Watchers)
WW, formerly Weight Watchers, is a diet program that uses a points-based system to promote long-lasting, sustainable weight loss.
Foods and drinks are assigned a SmartPoints value, and members are allotted a specific number of points to use each day.
Depending on which plan you select, there are also 100 to over 300 ZeroPoints foods available, which are foods that don’t count toward your daily SmartPoints budget.
WW may be a good option for couples that want to lose weight, as the program is flexible and still allows you to eat out together and enjoy your favorite foods.
WW even offers a couple’s package, which provides a discounted rate for a dual membership.
One large review of 39 studies showed that Weight Watchers participants lost at least 2.6% more weight over 1 year than a control group or those who received behavioral counseling (59Trusted Source).
Another study in 1,267 people found that those who followed Weight Watchers for 1 year lost more weight and still had greater overall weight loss after 2 years than those who received self-help materials or brief nutrition advice (63Trusted Source).
However, this study was funded by Weight Watchers, which may have influenced the results.
15. Vegetarian diet
Switching to a vegetarian diet is a great way to lose weight and save some money.
In fact, plant-based protein sources like canned beans, lentils, tofu, and tempeh can be a cost-effective alternative to meat, poultry, and seafood.
Following a vegetarian diet can also be an easy way to boost weight loss.
One review of 12 studies found that people who followed a vegetarian diet lost significantly more weight than those who followed non-vegetarian diets over an average of 18 weeks (12Trusted Source).
In another review, 75% of studies included showed that following a vegetarian diet was associated with better overall diet quality, compared with non-vegetarian diets (64Trusted Source).
Countless books can provide more information on vegetarian diets and their potential health benefits.
The program was designed by bariatric physician Dr. Caroline J. Cederquist and features over 150 chef-prepared meals that are ready to enjoy in just 5 minutes or less.
You can select from plans that offer breakfast, lunch, or dinner and mix and match your favorite recipes to create a custom meal plan.
Gluten-free meals and programs geared toward heart health, diabetes, and menopause are also available.
Although there are no studies on the effectiveness of BistroMD specifically, the program provides meals that are low in calories and high in protein, which can help reduce your appetite and promote weight loss (65Trusted Source, 66Trusted Source, 67Trusted Source).
The program also provides access to an online community and individual support from a registered dietitian to help you reach your weight loss goals.
There are a number of factors to consider when finding a diet or weight loss program that works for you.
First, look for a diet that can easily fit your lifestyle and food preferences, which can help ensure long-term success.
Additionally, select programs that are backed by research and have been shown to be effective for weight loss.
Diet programs should also be realistic and sustainable. Steer clear of diets that are overly restrictive or promise a quick-fix for rapid weight loss.
You should also be cautious of programs that require you to purchase expensive products or supplements to achieve results.
Ideally, programs should incorporate other healthy lifestyle habits, such as regular physical activity and mindful eating, which can boost long-term weight loss and support overall health.
If you have other underlying health conditions or are taking any medications, be sure to talk to a trusted healthcare professional before making changes to your diet.
There are many weight loss programs available, making it easy to find something that can work for you.
When picking a diet, look for a program that’s realistic, sustainable, and backed by research.
Be sure to also incorporate other healthy habits, such as regular physical activity and mindful eating, into your daily routine to maximize weight loss and improve your overall health.
Healthiest Diets Around the World Have in Common?
There are key similarities in parts of the globe where people live long, healthy lives. Portion sizes are reasonable, dishes are built from whole foods, and meals are shared with friends and family.
Here’s a quick look at some of the healthiest diets around the world:
- Mediterranean Diet – Whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables are produced locally. They’re made with traditional preparations, and shared with friends and family. Fish and poultry are consumed in moderation, but meat, sugar, and salt are occasional indulgences.
- Traditional Okinawa Diet – This eating plan is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense diet. It focuses on fruits and vegetables with modest amounts of seafood and lean meat. The idea is to eat enough food to feel 80 per cent full, and there is an emphasis on sharing with others.
- Nordic Diet – Rich in root vegetables, whole-grain bread, and oily fish, the Nordic diet is high in fiber and protein, but low in sugar. Meat dishes and processed dairy products are limited, but fermented milk and cheese are common ingredients.
- French Paradox – Largely built around bread, cheese, and wine, the French diet is high in saturated fats, but limited in terms of portions. The focus is on eating smaller amounts of high-quality food rather than overindulging in unhealthy foods.
- West African – Centered on lean meat, vegetables, and cereal staples, the West African diet is low in calories and nearly devoid of processed foods. This diet focuses on traditional preparations of foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and fish.
Best Diets Overall
- Mediterranean diet
- DASH diet and Flexitarian diet (tie)
- WW (Weight Watchers)
- Mayo Clinic diet and MIND diet (tie)
Best Commercial Diets
Best Weight Loss Diets
Best Fast Weight Loss Diets
Best Diets for Healthy Eating
- DASH diet and Mediterranean diet (tie)
- Flexitarian diet
- TLC diet
- MIND diet, Nordic diet, Volumetrics, and WW (tie)
Easiest Diets to Follow
- Mediterranean diet
- Flexitarian diet
- MIND diet
- DASH diet and fertility diet (tie)
Best Diets for Diabetes
- Flexitarian diet and Mediterranean diet (tie)
- DASH diet, Mayo Clinic diet, and vegan diet (tie)
Best Heart-Healthy Diets
- DASH diet, Mediterranean diet, and Ornish diet (tie)
- Flexitarian diet, TLC diet, and vegan diet (tie)
Best Plant-Based Diets
- Best Overall Diet: Mediterranean Diet
- Best Diet for Heart Health: DASH Diet
- Best Diet for Weight Loss: Volumetrics Diet
- Best Sustainable Diet: Flexitarian Diet
- Best Digital Diet: Noom
- Most Promising Diet: Nordic Diet