To recap, the brain-healthy MIND diet recommends:
- Every day, you eat at least three servings of whole grains, a salad and another vegetable and you drink a glass of red wine
- On most days you snack on nuts
- Every other day you eat half a cup of beans
- At least twice a week you have poultry and a half-cup serving of berries (blueberries are best)
- Dine on fish at least once a week
- Olive oil is what you primarily use at home
Here are the five brain-unhealthy food groups
researchers tell us to limit to reduce the risk of developing dementia:
Red meat isn't banned in the MIND diet, but the researchers say you should limit consumption to no more than four servings a week to help protect brain health. That's more generous than the Mediterranean diet, which restricts red meat to just one serving a week.
Butter and stick margarine
Butter and stick margarine should be limited to less than a tablespoon per day on the MIND diet. Brain-healthy olive oil can often be used instead.
Cheese may be delicious but it doesn't do your brain any favors, according to the MIND diet study. Eat cheese no more than once a week if you want to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's.
Pastries and Sweets
You already know they're not so good for your waistline, and it turns out pastries and other sweets could have a negative effect on brain health as well. The MIND diet recommends limiting yourself to no more than five of these treats per week.
Fried and Fast Foods
Fried foods and fast food round out the MIND diet's list of unhealthy food groups. Limit your indulgence in fried food to no more than once a week for optimal brain health.
Even if you don’t have a family history of Alzheimer’s disease or other risk factors, you may still want to try this eating plan. Because the MIND diet focuses on nutritious whole foods, “It’s not just good for your brain. It’s good your heart and overall health, too,” says Majid Fotuhi, MD, PhD- chairman and CEO of the Memosyn Neurology Institute.
One of the best things about the MIND diet is that you don’t have to stick to it perfectly to see benefits. “That makes it more likely you’ll follow it for a long time,” says Dr. Fotuhi. What's more, "The longer people eat the MIND way, the lower their risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease."
Considering this, it's no wonder that the MIND diet was featured by U.S. New & World Report as one of the Best Diets of 2016. Their panel of health experts included nutritionists and physicians specializing in diabetes, heart health and weight loss. In all, the experts scored 38 diets on short term weight loss, long term weight loss, ease of compliance, safety and nutrition. Their assessment of the MIND diet is impressive...
#1 Easiest Diet to Follow
#2 Best Diet Overall
#3 Best Diet for Healthy Eating
#4 Best Diabetes Diet
#4 Best Heart Healthy Diet
Even though diet plays a big role, it's only one aspect of preventing Alzheimer's Disease. If you do decide to make your diet more MIND-like, experts recommend you take a few extra steps to lower your risk even more:
- keep your portions in check
- be careful about how food is prepared (avoiding extra sugar, salt, fats and calories)
- make a point to drink several glasses of water each day
- get regular exercise
- manage your stress
Make good choices today so you don't have regrets tomorrow.