6 MIND Diet Recipes to Give Your Brain a Boost
You already know that what we eat can help build strong bones and muscles. But it turns out that our diet can also have a positive effect on our brains, enhancing memory and mental clarity, and even helping stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD, author of the cookbook Meals That Heal, explains: “The brain runs 24/7, requiring a constant supply of energy and nutrients. If it doesn’t have the optimal fuel it needs, this affects its functioning and can also slowly change its structure.”
According to Williams, food can improve brain health in two major ways. First, antioxidant-rich and anti-inflammatory foods can help fight the free-radical damage and low-grade inflammation that lead to declining brain health. Second, foods that are nutrient-dense with protein, B vitamins, choline, vitamin C, iron, and zinc may support neurotransmitters, which carry messages between brain cells directing essential functions like sleep, mood, concentration, breathing, heart rate, and hunger.
So what’s the best overall eating pattern to reap these benefits? Science is pointing to the MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay)—it’s a combination of the classic Mediterranean diet and the hypertension-focused DASH diet. “Research suggests even moderate adherence to the MIND diet slows brain decline and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s,” Williams says.