Boost your brain health with the MIND diet

What happens when the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet meet? The MIND diet, a combination worth considering to help you stay mentally sharp as you get older.

On Nutrition

If the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet had a baby, it would be the MIND diet. If you want to up the odds of staying mentally sharp as you get older, it’s a way to eat that’s worth considering.

The Mediterranean diet has a well-established track record of promoting overall good health while reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is a similarly healthy eating plan that is effective for lowering high blood pressure.

While both of those ways of eating have been shown to have benefits for brain health, reducing the risk of cognitive decline from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet is tailored to fit the current science, taking the best of both diets and going a step further. It was developed by Martha Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center, through a study funded by the National Institute on Aging.

“There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and even the approved treatments are not all that effective, so this really points to the importance of prevention,” said Fran Grodstein, ScD professor of medicine at Brigham and Woman’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School, speaking at the Nutrition & Health Conference in Phoenix in May. “If we can make some changes at the earliest stages [of Alzheimer’s], we don’t need to worry about treatments or cures.”

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The most significant shifts the MIND diet makes are in its recommendations for vegetables, fruit and fish. For the effects of fish on brain health, the biggest difference is between people who eat no fish and those who eat at least…

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