The MIND diet: Why you should embrace it

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
MIND diet good for weight and overall health

Finding a healthy diet that can help you lose weight can be confusing. Some popular diets are questionable and could cause more harm than good in the long run. The MIND diet is not only healthy. It might also help you lose weight.

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The MIND approach to eating is a combination of two different diets, the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet. Preliminary study results showed the MIND diet could help prevent mental decline that could lead to Alzheimer’s disease, but there is more to know.

What is the MIND diet?
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U.S. News and World Report ranked the MIND diet number two as the best overall and number 16 for weight loss.

The diet was developed by Rush University researchers and thus far has been shown to be healthier than the DASH or Mediterranean diet alone.

MIND is an acronym for Mediterranean‐DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay that so far has been shown to possibly reduce your chances of Alzheimer's disease.

Adhering to the healthy eating plan might cut your risk of dementia by as much as 53 percent, cut body fat and help with weight loss.

MIND foods to eat, what to avoid

The diet consists of eating "brain healthy" foods that will lead to overall better health. The longer you follow the diet, the healthier you will become.

The foods you should embrace are probably not surprising and include:

  • Fish
  • Berries
  • Whole grains that are proven to help with weight loss and control
  • Poultry
  • Olive Oil
  • Vegetables, including green leafy ones
  • Wine
  • Beans - also shown to help with weight loss
  • Berries
  • Nuts

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What you want to avoid also should not be a surprise. You already know this!

  • Butter
  • Sweets and pastries
  • Red meat
  • Cheese
  • Fried foods
  • Fast foods

But don't give up yet!

The good news is that people who just sort of followed the diet seemed to cut their Alzheimer's risk by 35 percent. So if you think you just can't live without an occasional burger or fries, you'll be happy to know that just eating more berries, veggies, nuts, beans and other foods mentioned above will still have health benefits.

Getting started

First make sure you have whole grains on hand. You'll need to eat three servings a day along with a salad and one other vegetable.

Oh yes, and a glass of wine is also recommended.

For the diet to be a success, you'll need to limit butter to less than 1 Tbsp. a day. You can also indulge once a week on fried or fast food or cheese, but only if you must.

Also included is eating beans every other day, fish at least once a week and berries and poultry at least twice a week; especially blueberries that are very specific for the MIND diet. Rush researchers say strawberries are also good for the brain.

There are good reasons to embrace the MIND diet. It is easy to follow, is not overly strict, is preliminary shown to have overall health benefits even if you don't follow it strictly, includes plenty of good food, including wine and it just could keep you mentally sharp - and slim - well into your senior years.

Related: How to afford Mediterranean Diet
Red wine with a meal could also thwart major health concern

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