The MIND diet might be relatively new to the nutrition community, but it’s becoming more popular among experts and health enthusiasts thanks to the positive impact it has on brain health. But is this eating style right for you, and what should you know before you start? Here’s what you need to know about the MIND diet, its health benefits, and how Elo can help you on your journey to boost cognition.
What is the MIND diet?
The MIND diet combines key elements of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. It merges aspects of each diet to cultivate an eating pattern that has been shown to improve brain health, promote healthy eating behaviors, and slow cognitive decline [1
Is the MIND diet different from other diets?
Unfortunately, many diets focus on fast (and often unattainable) solutions to specific health goals. While they may be temporarily effective, they don’t work in the long run for most people [2
The MIND diet is different from other diets, as it’s a more long-term approach to wellness rather than a quick fix. This method is backed by science, as studies continue to show that high-quality foods and a nutritious diet provide brain health benefits [3
How Elo can help with cognition and longevity
If you’re interested in boosting cognition but don’t know where to start, you may want to consider Elo Health.
At Elo Health, we deliver Smart Nutrition
, a personalized, precise, and proactive approach to finding the best nutrition for you. To do this, we analyze your biochemistry, personal goals, health history, and activity levels to provide nutrition recommendations and personalized supplements unique to you and your changing needs.
Elo also has a team of Registered Dietitians and Health Coaches
who can help you reach your health and wellness goals by providing personalized dietary recommendations and science-backed nutrition advice.
If you’re looking to boost cognition, your Elo Health coach will help you work towards achieving better brain health through personalized food, lifestyle, and supplement recommendations (like citicoline, L-theanine
, and lion’s mane
Best foods for brain health
The MIND diet focuses on foods rich in certain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help protect the brain and reduce inflammation. Instead of providing a diet plan, it provides daily and weekly recommendations for specific foods and food groups.
Here are some foods the MIND diet recommends including throughout the week [4
3+ servings a day of whole grains
1+ servings a day of vegetables (other than green leafy)
6+ servings a week of green leafy vegetables
5+ servings a week of nuts
4+ meals a week of beans
2+ servings a week of berries
2+ meals a week of poultry
1+ meals a week of fish
Sub extra-virgin olive oil for other cooking oils
Note: some of these foods may not be appropriate for everyone depending on allergies, intolerances, or dietary preferences. If this is the case for you, talk with a healthcare professional to find what works best for your needs.
Foods to limit on the MIND diet
Limiting foods that are high in saturated and trans
-fat is recommended. These include pastries, sweets, red meat (including beef, pork, lamb, and other related products), cheese, fried foods, butter, and margarine [4
Health benefits of the MIND diet
The MIND diet was created to help prevent dementia and slow the loss of brain function that can happen with age. However, this eating style has other positive side effects that go beyond the brain. Here’s what science has to say about the health benefits of the MIND diet.
Lower risk of Alzheimer’s and slow cognitive decline.
Studies have shown that the MIND diet reduces cognitive decline and risk for Alzheimer’s by 35-53% and may be more effective than the Mediterranean diet alone [5
The MIND diet may also help to prevent and slow cognitive decline [8
]. For example, research indicates that people with a history of stroke and who followed the MIND diet showed slower rates of cognitive decline than those who didn’t [9
The MIND diet primarily focuses on increasing plant foods while limiting intakes of foods high in saturated fat. These dietary changes can positively affect heart health; particularly the heart’s left ventricular function [10
Furthermore, notable evidence shows that an increase in specific components of the MIND diet (whole grains, green leafy vegetables, and beans) can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 60%, 45%, and 65%, respectively [11
While inflammation is necessary for your body to protect itself, it can also be a symptom of many chronic illnesses, like cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and cancer. It can also lead to fatigue, lack of energy, and an increased risk of depression and anxiety [12
However, you can fight inflammation with what you put on your fork. Anti-inflammatory foods (like omega-3s, berries, olive oil, and high-fiber foods) are a significant part of the MIND diet and positively affect inflammation [13
Boost gut health.
is a carbohydrate found in fruits, whole grains, nuts, and vegetables. Diets high in fiber help prevent chronic diseases, improve overall health, and aid weight management [20
]. However, fiber also has a positive impact on gut health, as studies have found that people who had a high fiber intake (40-50 g/day) for two weeks experienced an 8% change in their microbiome compared to those who didn’t eat as much fiber [17
Balance blood sugar.
Studies show that consuming unsaturated fats (such as avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds) can have a positive impact on blood sugar, reduce the risk of heart disease, and lower LDL “bad” cholesterol levels [18
Things to consider
While the MIND diet has many health benefits, it doesn’t come without some caveats. Before diving head-first into this eating style, here are a few things to consider.
It doesn’t include a rigid meal plan. Many diets offer a specific meal plan, whereas the MIND diet is flexible in nature. While it offers a list of foods with daily and weekly amounts to include, it doesn’t specify portion sizes. This may be challenging for people looking to lose weight by watching calories or wanting to be more precise with their food measurements.
Eating out may take additional planning. It may take more time to review a restaurant’s menu and find food suitable for the MIND diet.
Sample MIND diet meal plan
With so many food options available on the MIND diet, it might be challenging to come up with a meal plan. We asked Elo Health coach, Jessica Dogert
, to share a sample MIND diet meal plan that is easy to incorporate into a daily routine. Here’s what she recommended.
Breakfast: Pasture-raised eggs cooked in butter/ghee with avocado and a slice of sourdough bread on the side.
Snack: Homemade trail mix with unsweetened coconut flakes, cacao nibs, and sprouted almonds.
Lunch: Leafy green salad with roasted veggies. Include olive oil and a protein of choice (hard-boiled eggs, beans, or canned fish), and top with goat cheese, olives, avocado slices, nuts, and seeds.
Dinner: A large, colorful plate of non-starchy roasted veggies, a small portion of sweet potato or squash, protein (such as grass-fed beef, chicken thighs or fatty fish), and one small glass of red wine.
Dessert: A square of dark chocolate.
The MIND diet focuses on foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can improve brain health, reduce inflammation, and slow cognitive decline. This eating style differs from other diets, as it’s a more long-term approach to wellness rather than a quick fix. While the MIND diet doesn’t offer a specific meal plan, it provides daily and weekly recommendations for foods and food groups–this makes it a more flexible option for those who don’t want a rigid diet structure.
Disclaimer: The text, images, videos, and other media on this page are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to treat, diagnose or replace personalized medical care.