Last Updated on Oct 13, 2020

What is MIND Diet?

As you get older you need to take care of your brain as much as your body. Recently, MIND diet has gained a lot of popularity. MIND diet, as the name implies focuses on brain health and mental fitness.

Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet is a combination of Mediterranean-DASH diet. This type of diet involves food ingredients that protect the brain cells, enhance memory and improve concentration.

MIND diet mainly consists of plant-based foods, nuts and healthy sources of fat. It limits the intake of animal foods and foods containing unhealthy fat (saturated and trans fat).

Let's find out some details about Mediterranean diet and DASH diet:

Mediterranean diet is a traditional diet of Mediterranean countries. This type of diet is characterized by-

  • Moderate consumption of good quality protein
  • High intake of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Use of olive oil for cooking
  • Intake of fiber-rich whole grains
  • Moderate use of Red wine

The other half of the diet, that is "DASH diet" is designed to prevent and treat hypertension (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). This diet focuses on reducing the intake of sodium and increasing the content of nutrients that help to normalize blood pressure such as potassium and magnesium. It also recommends to consume low-fat dairy products.

Health Benefits of MIND Diet

Lowers Incidence of Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease that damages the memory and affects the behavior, mood, ability to think and carry out everyday task with ease.

Research has found that adherence to MIND diet can be protective against the development of AD. This diet involves consumption of berries at least 2 times a week. Studies have found that eating multiple types of berries improves brain performance and protects brain cells.

MIND diet also recommends consumption of one meal containing optimal serving of fish per week. Such a level of fish consumption helps in prevention of AD.

Furthermore, studies have observed that strict adherence to MIND diet lowers the risk of AD by approximately 53% whereas, moderate adherence to the diet lowers the risk by 35%.

Slows Cognitive Decline

Cognition means ability to think, remember (memory), understand the thought, being aware or conscious. Research says that as we grow older, cognitive abilities tend to decline. Such a change in human brain affects the overall quality of life.

Studies have observed that such a cognitive decline can slow down with the help of MIND diet. As per MIND diet, consumption of green leafy vegetables and just one particular type of fruit, that is "berries" helps to improve memory, thinking skills and overall brain health.

Green leafy vegetables are an amazing source of vitamin E, carotenoids, folate (vitamin B9) and flavonoids (healthy compounds obtained from plants) which help in brain function. Thus eating plenty of green leafy vegetables is associated with lower risk of cognitive decline.

Furthermore, it was found that berries improve memory and learning abilities. Such a brain-protective effect of berries is through their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Helps In Weight Loss

Though MIND diet is designed especially for brain protection, it even helps in weight loss. MIND diet consists of whole grains, nuts, beans, greens, berries, lean meat, fish and olive oil, which helps in weight loss. Processed foods, red meat, pastries, and sweets are restricted.

Such a healthy diet helps in weight loss, fastens fat burning and improves muscle mass.

Mind Diet Helps in Weight Loss

Possesses Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties

MIND diet is full of antioxidants that protect the brain cells against oxidative stress. Free radicals are dangerous substances that attack brain cells and affect memory, behavior and thinking skills.

Berries, green leafy vegetables and nuts which are a part of MIND diet are rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants combat free radicals and improve overall brain health.

MIND diet also reduces production of inflammatory compounds and prevents the onset of Alzheimer's disease and slows brain aging.

MIND Diet Plan

For enhancing your memory and to keep your mind sharp, you need to consume healthy foods and avoid brain-damaging foods. MIND diet recommends consumption of 10 healthy foods, these include:

  • Vegetables- One serving per day
  • Green leafy vegetables- Minimum 6 servings per week
  • Nuts- One serving per day (snack option)
  • Beans- 2-4 servings per week
  • Whole grains such as whole wheat, wheat-cracks, oats, sorghum, millets, quinoa and brown/ red/ black rice- 3 servings per day
  • Berries- Minimum 2 servings per week, preferably strawberries and blueberries
  • Lean meat or poultry- 2 servings per week
  • Fish- 1 serving per week
  • Olive oil- This should be the primary oil used for cooking
  • Wine- 1 serving per day
Healthy Foods For Brain

Note: Serving size: The serving size for each food differs in terms of weight and quantity. It means that, a serving size of meat is not the same as fruits. Below are the quantity given for 1 serving size of various foods.

  • Green Leafy Vegetables - 2 cups
  • Vegetables like carrot, beetroot - 1 cup
  • Nuts - 30gms
  • Beans - 1/2 cup
  • Whole grains - 1/2 cup (cooked)
  • Lean meat/poultry, fish - 3 ounces
  • Fruits - 1 cup

Sample Diet Plan:

Breakfast- Start your day with a bowl of oats with some berries or yogurt topped with berries and some nuts

Mid-meal snack- Unsalted nuts, 1/3 cup

Lunch- 1-2 medium-sized multi-grain or whole-wheat flat bread (roti) +

1 portion green leafy vegetables such as spinach, fenugreek, kale, mustard greens and broccoli +

1 portion chicken (2 pieces, non-fried) or 1 portion beans or whole pulses

The entire meal should be cooked in olive oil, herbs and spices such as turmeric, cinnamon and pepper should be used. The use of salt should be limited.

Mid-meal snack- A fruit

Dinner- 1 portion quinoa or wheat cracks with stir-fry vegetables such as tomato, carrot, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli.

Accompany this with some legumes or beans or 1 piece grilled fish.


  1. MIND diet associated with reduced incidence of Alzheimer's disease - (
  2. MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet may significantly protect against Alzheimer’s disease - (
  3. MIND diet slows cognitive decline with aging - (
  4. MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet may significantly protect against Alzheimer’s disease - (
  5. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function - (

Latest Publications and Research on MIND Diet

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