The MIND Diet is probably the healthiest diet trending at the moment.

It is a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets.

The MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet was introduced in 2015 by Dr. Martha Clare Morris, a leading expert in nutritional epidemiology at Rush University Medical Center. She searched through the scientific literature, primarily from observational studies, to put together what she considers the best foods for brain health from the DASH and Mediterranean diets.

The diet emphasizes green leafy vegetables (rather than all vegetables), berries (rather than all fruit), nuts, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil, and moderate amounts of alcohol (preferably red wine). It suggests avoiding red meat, butter, cheese, pastries, sweets, and fried food.

So far, this new diet has only been tested in the scientific literature by Dr. Morris. Her studies have compared the Mediterranean, DASH, and MIND diets in individuals aged 58–98 years. The research found that high scores in all three diets were associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but the MIND diet was the only diet in which even moderate adherence was beneficial.

The study showed that people who stuck to the MIND diet lowered their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by about 50%. That’s huge. But maybe even more importantly, researchers found that adults who followed the diet only part of the time still cut their risk of the disease by about 35%.

On the other hand, people who followed the DASH and Mediterranean diets “moderately” had almost no drop in their Alzheimer’s risk, Morris says.

The MIND diet was also associated with a slower decline in global cognition, the equivalent of being 7.5 years younger in age cognitively. However, all of these studies are still observational, making it very difficult to confirm whether the benefits are caused by the diet or by other characteristics shared by the people who choose these foods.

Additional information on the MIND diet can be found at WebMD, and Rush University.

Snacking and The MIND Diet

The MIND diet recommends eating 5 serving of nuts and 2 portions of berries each week.

These servings are easily incorporated into the diet as snacks.

The study did not specify any particular type of nuts. We recommend that you snack on a variety of nuts such as walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, brazil nuts, hazlenuts, macadamia nuts and cashew nuts. Walnuts are thought to be the best for improving brain function.

Dr Morris says that “Berries are the only fruit specifically included in the MIND diet. Blueberries are one of the more potent foods in terms of protecting the brain,” Morris said, and “strawberries have also performed well in past studies of the effect of food on cognitive function.”

We recommend that you eat the following berries: blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and mulberries.

One of the best things about the plan is that you don’t have to stick to it perfectly to see benefits, Rokusek says. “That makes it more likely you’ll follow it for a long time,” she says. “And the longer people eat the MIND way, the lower their risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease,” Morris says.

More Detail On The Foods Specified

Leafy Green Vegetables (spinach, kale, Swiss chard, beet greens, collards, arugula, etc)
Serving: 1-2 per day (about 1 cup raw, ½ cup cooked)

Tip: Leafy greens are good sources of Vitamin K, folate, and beta‐carotene

Other Vegetables (asparagus, green beans, carrots, potatoes, squash, eggplant, bell peppers, etc.)
Serving: 1-2 per day (about 1 cup raw, ½ cup cooked)

Tip: Brightly colored vegetables are rich with antioxidants

Berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, mulberries, etc.)
Serving: 4-5 per week (about ½ cup)

Tip: Berries are rich in polyphenols that protect neuron health, with extra benefit from blueberries and strawberries.

Whole Grains (100% whole‐grain bread & pasta, brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, etc.)
Serving: 3 per day (1 slice of bread, ½ cup brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal)

Tip: Whole grains are a good source of dietary fiber, and they also support cardiovascular health.

Nuts (all nuts, with extra benefit from walnuts)
Serving: 1 per day (about 1/3 cup)

Tip: Nuts help lower high blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Lentils and Beans (Black beans, pinto beans, red beans, kidney beans, mung beans, etc.)
Serving: 4-5 per week (about ½ cup)

Tip: Beans are packed with low glycemic carbs & protein

Fish (salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines & herring have most benefit)
Serving: 2+ per week (3 ounces cooked)

Tip: Fish is the best food source of Omega3 DHA & EPA, both necessary for a healthy brain.

Poultry (chicken and turkey)
Serving: 3+ per week (3 ounces cooked, but not fried)

Tip: A better choice for a healthy heart and healthy brain versus red meat.

Olive Oil (choose extra virgin olive oil)
Serving: Use olive oil as a replacement for butter and margarine, and as a primary cooking oil.

Tip: Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fat, the type that helps reduce inflammation and promotes healthy blood vessel function.

Wine (and beer, spirits)
Serving: One drink per day, no cheating, no “catching up” on the weekend.

Tip: Moderate amounts of alcohol raise levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good” cholesterol) in the bloodstream. This health benefit disappears with excessive alcohol use.

Foods To Avoid

The MIND diet targets fast food, fried food, whole fat cheese, red meat, butter and margarine, and pastries (yes, including donuts) as the food groups to avoid.

These food groups contain very high levels of unhealthy saturated fat and refined sugar — eating a “fast food diet” leads to diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and high blood pressure — the four dark horsemen of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is strongly linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Suggested serving: once a month or less, for each food group. Look at these foods as a very occasional indulgence.


Following a brain healthy diet like the MIND diet consistently over many years will offer the best protection.

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