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How was the MIND diet created?

By | October 21st, 2020

We took the backbones of the Mediterranean and the Dash diet, which were developed to prevent hypertension and lower blood pressure. They both have many components in common, and both have demonstrated to be healthy diets for many chronic conditions but primarily cardiovascular conditions. So we took the backbone of this, and then we modified certain components based on the literature specific to brain health. The Mediterranean and the Dash diet both have four or more vegetable servings per day, and three or more fruit servings per day. When we looked at the research on fruits and vegetables and cognitive decline and dementia, we found that the level of benefit was at two or more servings a day. So we said two or more vegetable servings per day. We also noted that many large studies have found that it’s specifically leafy green vegetables that are healthy for the brain. Therefore, we specified, and said that you should eat two or more servings of vegetable a day, and that one of these servings had to be a leafy green. So that’s spinach, kale, collards, romaine lettuce, etc. The greener, darker leafy part of the plant is where most of the nutrients are, and they’re very nutrient dense for nutrients shown to be beneficial to the brain. For the fruit component of three or more servings a day, when you go look at brain health and nutrition, fruit consumption as a general category is not associated with protecting the brain. But, any type of berry has been shown to be important to the brain. So instead of recommending fruit in general, we specifically suggested eating berries two to five times a day. That’s how we compiled the MIND diet: going through each component and making sure it’s nutritious for brain health.

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