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diet

MIND diet

Diet

Peanut butter and jelly. Netflix and a lazy Friday night. You and your BFF on a road trip. Some things are just infinitely better together, aren’t they? In some cases, that theory applies to diets, too. Good example: the MIND Diet, which stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. It’s a mashup of two evidence-based diets—the Mediterranean diet (which promotes heart health) and the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, which combats high blood pressure). They were combined and voilà! A healthy new diet was born. The MIND diet’s aim is to delay the dementia and cognitive decline that happens with age, and it’s specifically designed to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. But it isn’t just for old people! Think of it like using anti-aging eye serum before you start to actually see smile lines, or putting on SPF to take care of your skin on a daily basis. Makes a lot of sense, right? If you switch to this diet, you’ll be getting loads of all-important antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. As we all know, those are the culprits in all chronic and invisible illnesses, which is what makes the MIND diet relevant. How do you follow the MIND diet? First of all, don’t think of it as a diet! Think of it as a lifestyle change that—hopefully—you’ll want to stick to for life. Every day you’ll eat vegetables, whole grains, a glass of wine (if you want!), and healthy fats such as olive oil. Six days a week you’ll eat dark leafy greens (such as kale or Swiss chard) and a serving of nuts. You’ll try to eat beans 3 days a week, poultry at least twice a week, fish at least once a week, and so on. Sample menus can be found below in the “Learn more” section.

Foods to Eat

Green, leafy vegetables All other vegetables Berries Nuts Olive oil Whole grains Fish Beans Poultry Wine (no more than one glass per day)

Foods to Avoid

Butter/Margarine Cheese Red meat Fried food Sweets

What Studies Say

Studies have shown that the MIND diet considerably reduces cognitive decline in aging adults. A study of seniors living in public housing and retirement communities found that the MIND diet can slow brain aging by up to 7.5 years. (Yep, 7.5!) Another study found that it reduces your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Further research shows that the diet may also reduce the risk of developing dementia in the 10 years following a stroke (stroke survivors are twice as likely as the general population to develop dementia, so that’s promising news!).

Effort Level

Green, leafy vegetables All other vegetables Berries Nuts Olive oil Whole grains Fish Beans Poultry Wine (no more than one glass per day)

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