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MIND Diet Factoids

Place setting on a table with silverware, blue plate, white napkin on top on the plate and an olive branch on top of the napkin

The MIND diet is a hybrid of two proven diets, the Mediterranean diet and DASH. The MIND diet focuses in on foods that specifically improve brain health with its goal to reduce dementia and cognitive decline. Studies have found following the MIND diet can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. If you are interested in adopting a brain-healthy diet, we have included a few MIND diet factoids below to get you started.

 

What size is a brain-healthy serving of fish?

About 3 ounces cooked, which would be 4-5 ounces raw. Consumed once per week.

 

What quantity of vegetables should you eat each day to keep your brain healthy?

About 0.5 to 1.5 cups, as follows:

  • Six days per week: 1.0 cup of green leafy vegetables raw or 0.5 cups cooked.

  • Seven days per week: 0.5 cups of other vegetables.

 

How much olive oil should be included in a brain-healthy diet?

The PREDIMED study conducted in Spain by the University of Navarra randomized participants to either the Mediterranean diet plus olive oil, the Mediterranean diet plus nuts or a control group eating a low-fat version of the local diet. After diet adherence for up to 5 years, people in the Mediterranean diet plus olive oil group had a significantly higher global cognitive function score than those in the control group. People in the olive oil group were provided 1 L/week – or about 14 gallons per year.(Martina-Lapiscina et al, J Neurol Neurosurg Psych 2013)

 

How much olive oil is enough?

A study performed in the Calabria section of southern Italy, within the native Mediterranean diet zone, was performed to address this question. One hundred and eighty people over 65 years of age were assigned; half to the local diet and half to an augmented olive oil diet. People in the latter were provided 5L of extra virgin olive oil every three months and told to use only this type of oil for all their needs. At the end of one year, the augmented olive oil group showed significant improvement in global cognition compared to the control. The type of olive oil may be as important as the amount since extra virgin olive oil contains higher levels of antioxidants and vitamins. (Mazza et al, J Translational Medicine 2018)

 

How much olive oil do people in Mediterranean countries typically consume compared to Americans?

Mediterranean countries consume more olive oil than Americans. “On an individual basis, Greeks are the biggest consumers of olive oil, using about 20 liters or 5.3 gallons per person annually! Other high-consuming populations include Spaniards with about 13 liters or 3.4 gallons per capita, and Italians with about 11 liters or 2.9 gallons per capita. By contrast, American per capita consumption is only about 1 liter/1 quart per person.” (Olive Oil Production by Country)

 

Can the MIND diet slow cognitive decline?

About 960 elderly people in Chicago were taught the MIND diet and then followed with annual cognitive tests for up to 10 years. They were divided into three groups based on their reports of their actual diet – high, medium, and low diet compliance. Although all groups showed some cognitive decline over time, the rate was much slower in the high compliance compared to the low compliance group, the equivalent of being 7.5 years younger in age.(Morris et al Alz Dementia 2015

 

 

These factoids come from “The MIND Diet: A Scientific Approach to Enhancing Brain Function and Helping Prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia” by Maggie Moon, MS, RD, Ulysses Press, USA, 2016