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The ideas behind the MIND diet are not new. It’s based on two diets that have been around for decades. And studies have shown that they’re healthy, effective diet plans.
MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. But just think of it as a mix of the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), which focuses on heart health, and the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats like olive oil, whole grains, and beans and nuts. It also includes moderate amounts of fish, poultry, eggs and dairy.
MIND combines these two eating plans while emphasizing foods that are especially helpful for brain health. Plant-based foods like whole grains, beans and vegetables are the main focus for the MIND diet. It also limits the animal-based foods that are high in saturated fats and foods with added sugars. While MIND encourages portion control, the emphasis is not on weight loss. But weight loss can be an added bonus for some.
Research shows that the MIND diet can improve brain health and lower your odds of developing issues like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Studies show that eating certain foods and dodging unhealthy ones can slow brain aging by over seven years.
This approach to eating can also improve the health of your digestive system. Our bodies are loaded with trillions of bacteria that help break down food and play a big role in total health. These bacteria live throughout your body, but the ones in your digestive system may have the biggest impact on your health and well-being. They affect everything from your metabolism to your mood to your immune system. Research suggests that your gut bacteria are tied to your risk for health issues like diabetes, obesity, depression and colon cancer.
The MIND plan is not complicated. It’s made up of simple foods that are easy to find. It’s a healthy eating plan for most people. And if you have food allergies, you can adapt the plan.
To follow the MIND plan:
The paybacks of the MIND diet are many. It may help slow brain aging and lower your risk for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. But it doesn’t just help your brain. It also helps your heart. The high fiber and low saturated fat and sugar can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
It also helps improve your digestive health, which boosts your metabolism, mood, immune system and more. Better gut health can also lower your risk for health issues like diabetes, obesity, depression and colon cancer.
Improving what you eat can boost your brain and body. Talk to your doctor before you start a new eating plan to find out what changes are best for you.
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