The MIND Diet
Author: be well™ with Big Y® Registered Dietitian Team
Eating for brain health today and years to come.
What if you learned the way you eat now not only impacts how your brain functions today but also in the years to come? Would you change your eating behaviors?
The great news is how you eat today does impact how your brain functions now and later in life. Even better? A style of eating shown to have positive impacts on your cognitive health was ranked #4 out of 40 for Best Diets Overall by the 2022 U.S. News and World Best Diet Rankings and #3 for Easiest Diets to Follow.
The MIND Diet¹, or the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay Diet, is based on research done by Rush University Medical Center and Harvard University. Researchers found certain foods may delay cognitive decline, such as dementia, and the delay of Alzheimer’s later in life. Subsequent research indicates the MIND Diet may help protect against the onset of Parkinson’s Disease as well².
Based on the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diets, the MIND Diet has similarities to them both; but, some find it less restrictive, while researchers have observed it to be impactful even when followed loosely.
Below is a listing of foods, and the frequency of their consumption, associated with positive and negative impacts on the brain. How many can you begin weaving into your weekly meals? And which ones, that may be harmful, are you able to consume less of?
Note: Serving sizes are based on those from the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines and can be found by visiting MyPlate.gov.
Making behavior changes that become daily habits takes time. Your cognitive health is well worth the effort, so be patient. Start slow and begin adding MIND Diet Brain Healthy Foods one at a time to meals and snacks. You just may begin enjoying more colorful and flavorful foods while feeling like the best version of yourself.
¹ Moon, M. The MIND Diet: A Scientific Approach to Enhancing Brain Function and Helping Prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press; 2016.
² Metcalfe-Roach, A., Yu, A. C., Golz, E., Cirstea, M., Sundvick, K., Kliger, D., et al. (2021). MIND and Mediterranean diets associated with later onset of Parkinson's disease. Movement Disorders, 36, 977–984. doi: 10.1002/mds.28464