Healthy MIND Diet Dinners: What to Cook (Jan 3)

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Healthy MIND Diet Dinners: The first week of a new year begins and with resolutions recently made, we’re focusing on foods to help us achieve those goals. Easy, mind-healthy dinners all week. 

Bowl of Ikarian Stew for Mind Diet Dinners

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What is the MIND Diet?

Mayo Clinic defines the MIND diet as a hybrid of two excellent eating styles, with decades of research; the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet.

Researchers combined the two diets with a focus on foods that help boost brain health.

They say these foods have been shown to “slow brain aging by 7.5 years, and lessen the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.”

What to Eat on the MIND Diet

This simple formula is easy to remember and execute.

Here are the essentials:

Leafy Green Vegetables

Load up on vegetables: specifically leafy greens like kale, spinach, collards, and lettuce for best brain health. Aim to eat 6 servings a week of leafy greens with an added vegetable every day.

Berries for Treats

Studies show that blueberries and strawberries have the most impact on brain health. Eat 2 or more servings a week of these berries.

Snacking on Nuts

A handful of unsalted dry roasted or raw nuts 5 times a week.

Cooking with Olive Oil

Cook primarily with olive oil for healthy fats and avoid cooking with butter.

Plant-Based Foods

“Brain-healthy eating encourages consuming meat sparingly (red meat makes an appearance fewer than four times a week in the ideal MIND diet). Beans, lentils and soybeans, which pack protein and fiber, make a worthy substitute. They’ll keep you full and are rich in B vitamins, which are important for brain health.”

Seafood Once A Week

Individuals who consume at least 1 serving of fish a week scored higher on brain health and memory tests. Salmon is exceptionally good for healthy minds.

5 Foods to Avoid on the MIND Diet

The MIND diet recommends limiting the following five foods:

  • Butter and margarine: Try to eat less than 1 tablespoon (about 14 grams) daily. Instead, try using olive oil as your primary cooking fat, and dipping your bread in olive oil with herbs.
  • Cheese: The MIND diet recommends limiting your cheese consumption to less than once per week.
  • Red meat: Aim for no more than three servings each week. This includes all beef, pork, lamb and products made from these meats.
  • Fried food: The MIND diet highly discourages fried food, especially the kind from fast-food restaurants. Limit your consumption to less than once per week.
  • Pastries and sweets: This includes most of the processed junk food and desserts you can think of. Ice cream, cookies, brownies, snack cakes, donuts, candy and more. Try to limit these to no more than four times a week.

Here’s to a new year, filled with possibilities, healthy bodies, and minds.

Have a great week!

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Healthy MIND Diet Dinners: What to Cook (Jan 3)

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  1. I see that some of your recipes for the MIND diet contain cheese. Isn’t cheese one of the foods to avoid on the MIND diet?

    1. That’s a great question, Diane. I was a bit confused about that myself and researched it as carefully as possible. From everything I can find, the MIND diet creator does not specifically mention eliminating cheese. It is recommended that it be used sparingly and low-fat cheeses are recommended. Here is an article specifically talking about cheese on the MIND diet:

      1. Actually in the MIND diet cookbook for beginners by Kelli Mcgrane, MS, RD, recommended by the neuropsychologist who diagnosed my husband with Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, cheese is one of the foods to limit or avoid with recommendation for no more than 1 serving per week (1 oz or 2 tbsp shredded cheese). I found this recipe to go against the recommendation for someone on the MIND diet

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