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What is “the MIND Diet” and Can it Prevent Alzheimer’s?

The MIND diet is a list of 10 food groups that have been associated with a significantly reduced risk of Alzheimer’s.

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MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. Developed at Rush University by Martha Clare Morris, ScD, it’s a hybrid of the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet.

The 10 food categories in the diet are leafy greens, vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and red wine. Conversely, there are also five no-no food groups – red meats, butter and margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast foods.

The most impressive part of the research shows that you get results just from trying! Even if you follow it just part of the time, the research shows a 35% decrease in risk for Alzheimer’s and – for those who are rigorous about the diet – the reduction in risk goes up to over 50%. That’s pretty amazing.

While the MIND Diet doesn’t allow meat, cheese or butter, none of the studies that formed the scientific basis of the diet looked at the differences between grass-fed, organic meats and dairy and conventional meats and dairy. 

My personal belief is that grass-fed, organic meat, cheese and butter pose no health hazard to anyone consuming a clean diet with lots of vegetables, fiber, nuts, beans and fruits. 

That being said, the MIND Diet does focus on a wealth of nutrient-dense foods, so there’s no harm in trying it out – just keep in mind that the grass-fed dairy and meats it excludes also offer brain-boosting benefits from their omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in greater abundance in grass-fed products.