What Is the MIND Diet?
MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) is a fusion of two healthy meal ideas – the DASH (Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean diet.
A Mediterranean diet consists of whole grains, omega 3s, and healthy fats while The DASH diet lays emphasis on vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy diet.
The purpose of the diet is to include brain healthy foods and nutrients such as berries, nuts, and fish while regulating the amount of unhealthy fats and red meat in your regular diet. MIND diet helps in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and supports a healthy brain.
Essentials of the MIND Diet
The MIND diet consists of ten brain-healthy food groups and five unhealthy groups.
The ten brain-healthy food groups include:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Berries, specifically blueberries
- Whole grains
- Olive oil
- Other vegetables
The five unhealthy food groups one needs to Avoid:
- Red meats
- Fast or fried foods
Pastries and sweets
Benefits of the MIND diet
MIND diet has been considered healthy in general. Some of the benefits are:
- MIND may actually have a progressive effect on your brain and may help in decreasing the threat of Alzheimer’s disease.
- The Mediterranean Diet and the DASH diet work to improve heart health.
- The MIND diet also helps to reduce the blood sugar levels.
- Mediterranean diet helps in weight loss and lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels.
- It is believed that the MIND diet is more operative at reducing cognitive decline as seen in Alzheimer’s than the Mediterranean or DASH diets alone.
Things to Keep In Mind While Following the MIND Diet:
- Get at least two to three portions of whole grains like whole-wheat atta, jowar, bajra, and ragi every day.
- Consume beans like rajma, mung beans, and chawli every day. Don’t forget to add a pinch of heeng while cooking these to reduce bloating.
- Eat a salad consisting of seasonal vegetables every day, preferably before your lunch. Don’t forget to add a dash of kali mirch and sendha namak (pink Himalayan salt) to your salad.
- Eat green leafy vegetables like palak, methi, or bathua on a daily basis.
- Consume a handful of nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pistaevery morning with your breakfast.
- Include chicken and eggs in your diet (at least twice a week).
- Consume berries like amla which can be taken in the form of candies, murabbas, or chyawanprash.
- Consume fish like rohu, catla, hilsa, or pomfret at least once a week.
- Try to use healthier options for cooking like cow’s ghee and extra virgin olive oil in place of vegetable oil.
It is completely fine to treat yourself with that extra piece of sweet or your favourite chhole-bhature once in a while, but not more than once or twice a month.
Should You Follow the MIND Diet?
A more organized and planned eating strategy is required these days, specifically for older adults. MIND diet can be referred as a guide in this case.
The MIND diet is high in fibres as it includes fruits & green leafy vegetables, rich in proteins due to the legumes, poultry, beans, and fish, and also high in minerals and healthy fasts due to the inclusion of nuts and seeds.
The MIND diet is centred on nourishing whole foods, therefore it is not just recommended for your brain but for your heart and your general health as well.
If one is unable to follow the MIND diet completely due to some dietary restrictions (like vegetarians, etc.), they can simply take some hints from this diet by including more of wholesome foods, salads, and healthy fats in their diets.
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