As we age, we become more conscious of what we’re eating to watch our weight, work around health issues, or simply feel our best. But certain foods can also help prevent degenerative diseases. The MIND diet, which stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay diet, encourages eating foods that help fight dementia. Studies have shown the Mediterranean cooking style increases heart health, and the plant-based DASH diet, short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, promotes eating many of the same kinds of foods. When you combine the ideas from both, you end up with a diet that’s healthy for your brain and body. Read on to learn more about the best foods for preventing dementia.
Topping the list for MIND diet foods is green leafy vegetables. Whether you eat them in a crisp summer salad or blend them into a fruity smoothie, aim to get six or more servings per week.
In addition to leafy greens, vegetables of all kinds are encouraged on the MIND diet. You’ll benefit most from at least two servings of vegetables per day. Are you someone who’s never found a taste for vegetables? Try roasting them in the oven to add a touch of charred flavor, pureeing them so they have the same creamy texture as mashed potatoes, or adding herbs and garlic to enhance their flavor without adding salt.
The healthy fats and fiber in nuts make them an ideal MIND diet food. Their crunch, great taste, and heartiness make them an excellent snack to have around in the kitchen or in your bag when you’re feeling peckish.
While all fruits are a healthy and tasty addition to your diet, berries are the only one called out on the MIND diet, because they’ve been shown to protect brain health. Try to eat berries at least twice a week. They’re the perfect substitute for desserts and sweets, especially during the summer!
Beans are a staple of the MIND diet. They’re high in fiber and protein, keeping you satisfied longer – plus they’re low in calories and fat. Beans can take on the flavor of whatever you’re cooking them in, and they’re a great addition to dishes year-round. Enjoy them in a chilled bean salad during the summer or a vegetable stew in the wintertime.
6. Whole Grains
While traditional white bread may remind you of homemade sandwiches from childhood, it’s best to nix it as we age. Switch it out for more nutritious and filling whole-wheat bread, as whole grains are recommended on the MIND diet. Other easy ways to incorporate whole grains into your diet include oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain pasta, and popcorn. Try them all to meet the recommended three servings of whole grains per day.
Make fish your main course to build a lunch or dinner that’s satisfying and MIND diet-friendly. Fish offers unsaturated fats that are actually good for you, plus it mixes up mealtime as a healthy and delicious alternative to red meat.
Like fish, poultry has unsaturated fats that provide health benefits, making it another prime choice on the MIND diet. There are endless ways to enjoy poultry like chicken and turkey, so you’ll never tire of sticking to what’s best for your brain health. Eat it in wraps, salads, sandwiches, soups, stir fries, or on its own!
9. Olive Oil
The MIND diet recommends cooking with olive oil because it helps protect your brain from Alzheimer’s disease. Canola oil is a good choice too. Olive or canola oil are the perfect alternative to butter or margarine, which you should avoid on the MIND diet.
We may have saved the best for last: Wine in moderation is encouraged on the MIND diet! Studies show both red and white wine can be beneficial for your brain, and red wine has been proven to protect brain cells. So treat yourself to a glass of your favorite vino when the mood strikes you, knowing you’re sticking to a diet that’s healthy for your brain and body.