Did you know that there are certain foods that are considered “brain healthy”?
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health introduced the MIND diet, a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets, to support brain health. This dietary pattern is believed to have protective effects against cardiovascular disease, a benefit that may also help preserve brain function.
Regularly eating the following foods may benefit your brain. Here's how to do it. Aim for:
1 or more serving(s) of vegetables per day (other than leafy greens - includes peppers, squash, carrots, broccoli, celery, tomatoes, string beans, beets, corn, potatoes, and peas)
1 fish-based meal per week (e.g. tuna sandwiches, fresh fish - does not include fried fish)
2 or more servings of berries per week (e.g. strawberries)
2 or more poultry-based meals per week (e.g. chicken, turkey)
3 or more servings of whole grains per day (e.g. oats, quinoa, brown rice)
4 or more bean-based meals per week (e.g. kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, edamame)
5 or more servings of nuts per week (e.g. walnuts, almonds)
6 or more servings of leafy green vegetables per week (e.g. kale, collards, spinach, tossed salad)
For an extra boost, try adding in omega-3 fatty acids, known for supporting learning, memory, and blood flow to the brain. Some good sources of these healthy fats include:
Dighriri IM, Alsubaie AM, Hakami FM, et al. Effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on brain functions: a systematic review. Cureus. October 9; 14(10): e30091.
Marcason W. What are the components to the mind diet? Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2015;115(10):1744.
Morris MC, Tangney CC, Wang Y, et al. Mind diet slows cognitive decline with aging. Alzheimer’s & Dementia. 2015;11(9):1015-1022.
Morris MC, Tangney CC, Wang Y, Sacks FM, Bennett DA, Aggarwal NT. Mind diet associated with reduced incidence of Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer’s & Dementia. 2015;11(9):1007-1014.
By Jessica Karasik, MS
MGH Dietetic Intern