MIND your diet

MIND your diet

A change in diet is usually the first step in creating a healthy lifestyle — but it’s easier said than done. Our diets are our habits, and as we all know, changing a bad habit is harder than it looks. But what if we could have all the benefits with only half the effort?

A new diet could significantly lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease—even if he or she only loosely adheres to it.

Appropriately known by the acronym MIND, the new diet is a combination of the Mediterranean and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diets. While both diets boast great brain benefits, they can be a little difficult to strictly follow. The Mediterranean diet, for example, requires you to consume fish at least twice a week — which can be an intimidating quota to fill for some people. Additionally, while both the DASH and Mediterranean diets reduce Alzheimer’s risk up to 39 and 54 percent, respectively, those who only moderately followed each diet saw few — if any — mental health-related benefits.

Enter the MIND diet.

This diet combines foods from both the DASH and Mediterranean diets to give you the best of both worlds in a manageable eating style you can easily replicate at home. The diet includes 10 brain-healthy food groups, and five food groups to limit. The diet touts green leafy vegetables, nuts, berries, whole grains and fish, among other options. The MIND diet is nearly as effective in reducing Alzheimer’s risk as the Mediterranean diet. The difference is that with the MIND diet, people can still reap the benefits even if they only somewhat stick to the plan. To study the effects of all three diets, researchers followed 923 adults over an average period of 4.5 years. Moderate adherence to the MIND diet led to a 34 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

It goes to show that even little changes can sometimes have a big impact. So remember: Be kind to your mind.

Related Episodes