June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. When it comes to nutrition, we hear a lot about healthy eating for diabetes, heart health, and weight management, but not often about how food can boost or preserve brain function. The MIND diet focuses on foods with this specific purpose. MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, which basically means it combines recommendations from both the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (or high blood pressure)) into one pattern of eating to support brain health. Many of the foods suggested work to prevent oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, including the brain. This can preserve neuron function, keeping your mind sharp!
Rather a strict “diet” to follow, MIND simply focuses on 15 foods – 10 to increase and 5 to limit:
- Leafy green vegetables
- Other vegetables
- Olive oil
- Whole grains
- Red meat
- Fried food
There are plenty of recipes out there that contain foods in the MIND diet. Chickpea Corn Patties, one of our recent Learning Kitchen Live recipes is a great example that includes several of these foods. This dish incorporate frozen and shelf-stable items, making the recipe not only good for the brain, but easily accessible and cost-sensitive!