Boost your brain health deliciously with 40+ MIND diet recipes, a MIND Diet Meal Plan, & a MIND diet tracker!

Scary stuff.–>Did you know that fluid intelligence, your ability to think quickly and recall information, peaks around age 20, then slowly declines?

Don’t fret, though. There’s good news too! Because the MIND Diet (MIND stands for Mediterranean-Dash Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) is based on two popular diets, the Mediterranean diet + the DASH diet. And it has been shown to boost brain health, slow cognitive decline, and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 53%.

How to Boost Your Brain Health with a {Delicious!} MIND Diet Meal Plan | Recipes + a FREE 3 DAY Healthy MIND Diet Meal Plan at EA Stewart, The Spicy RD

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I’ve shared my love of the Mediterranean diet here and here. As for the DASH diet (DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), it’s considered one of the best diets by U.S. News and World Report. In addition, it’s a top diet for high blood pressure and other chronic diseases, including heart disease, insulin resistance, and gout.

Harvard Health also rated the DASH diet and said, “research supports the use of the DASH diet as a healthy eating pattern that may help lower blood pressure and prevent or reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, kidney failure, and gout.”

In addition, the MIND Diet features nourishing and delicious anti-inflammatory foods, many of which you may already be eating on a healthy diet. It’s also simple and easy to follow.

What do you eat on the MIND diet?

Seriously addictive greens! Spicy Kale and Swiss Chard Saute | Healthy recipes, gluten free, vegan, paleo, low FODMAP option

You can enjoy many delicious brain foods on the MIND diet, including berries, whole grains, nuts, salmon, lentils, leafy greens (try the yummy Swiss Chard & Spicy Kale Saute pictured above!), extra-virgin olive oil, wine, and more. Let’s take a closer look at the MIND diet principles.

Eat these MIND diet foods daily (or almost daily)

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil Make it your primary cooking oil. Avocado oil is also a brain-healthy and heart-healthy choice.
  • Green Leafy Vegetables Eat 1 serving 6 x week, including arugula, collard greens, kale, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, watercress, etc.
  • Vegetables Eat one serving daily in addition to your leafy greens. You can eat any vegetables, but I recommend nutrient-dense veggies like artichokes, asparagus, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, endive, leeks, mushrooms, onions, and squash.
  • Whole Grains (gluten-free whole grains as needed) Eat three servings of whole grains per day. Gluten-free options include buckwheat, millet, oats, purple and brown rice, sorghum, teff, and corn.
  • Wine (optional one glass/day), especially red wine, is high in polyphenols.

Related Post:  Make This One Simple Change to Live a Healthier, More Vibrant Life

Eat these foods weekly.

  • Nuts Eat five servings each week. Enjoy a variety of nuts, including almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts.
  • Beans & Legumes Eat three+ servings per week of black beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, lentils, peanuts, pinto beans, etc.
  • Lean Poultry Eat two+ servings of white meat, chicken, and turkey per week.
  • Berries Eat two+ servings per week of blackberries, boysenberries, blueberries, golden berries, huckleberries, raspberries, strawberries, and wild blueberries.
  • Fish Eat one+ servings each week, especially fatty fish like salmon, tuna, rainbow trout, and sardines.

Limit these foods

  • Sweets & Pastries Eat less than five servings per week.
  • Butter & Margarine Limit to less than one tablespoon per day.
  • Red meat Eat less than four servings per week.
  • Whole Fat Cheese Limit to one serving or less per week.
  • Fried Fast Foods Eat less than one serving per week.

Didn’t I tell you the MIND Diet is easy to follow?

Well, except for maybe “limit whole fat cheese to one serving” & “eat less than five servings of sweets” per week. Sigh… But don’t worry. There’s more good news!

You don’t have to follow a MIND Diet Meal Plan 100% to reap the brain health benefits, as research has found that following the diet even partially reduces Alzheimer’s risk by 35%.

So, although I already have reduced my whole-fat cheese intake to a respectable 2-3 times per week, I can feel good about enjoying a small sweet treat daily. Baby steps πŸ™‚

And, since my No-Bake Chocolate Chip Energy Bites are made from almond flour and have only 4 grams of added sugar per serving, I’m sure they’re allowed on a MIND Diet Meal Plan. Don’t you think??

Chocolate Chip No Bake Energy Bites | Low Carb, Gluten Free, Low FODMAP, with Vegan & Paleo options | Get the recipe, plus more healthy snacks at EA Stewart, The Spicy RD

The science behind the MIND diet

Nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris, Ph.D., and her Rush University Medical Center colleagues developed the MIND Diet. And as I mentioned earlier, one of the most encouraging things about the MIND diet is that even if you don’t follow it 100%, you can still reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 35%.

I enjoyed learning more about the MIND diet from a nutrition talk by Maggie Moon, RD, and author of The MIND Diet. A Scientific Approach to Enhancing Brain Function and Helping Prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

Maggie gave an outstanding presentation on the research behind the diet, including its effects on reducing oxidative stress and preventing the loss of brain function that occurs with aging.

Maggie also talked about the wide variety of food groups and all the different cuisines {Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Mexican, & so many more!} that can be adapted to a MIND Diet, making it appealing to all tastes and easy to follow.

If you are interested in learning more about the specifics of the diet and would like to access MIND Diet-friendly recipes, along with a MIND Diet scoring system, I highly recommend you check out her MIND Diet book!

MIND Diet Recipes Cookbook

MIND Diet Recipes Cookbook Cover with a blueberry smoothie bowl.

In the meantime, if you’re ready to try it, I’ve created a free MIND Diet Recipes Cookbook with 42 delicious recipes for good brain health and overall health. You’ll find various tasty MIND diet recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert to reduce your Alzheimer’s risk and boost your cognitive function.

Free instant download! 40+ MIND Diet Recipes for Better Brain Health

I’ve also created a sample 3-Day Gluten-Free Mind Diet Plan featuring some of my own delicious MIND diet recipes for brain health. Enjoy!

3-Day Sample MIND Diet Meal Plan

Overhead shot of vean blueberry smoothie bowl topped with kiwi, hemp seeds, and viola flowers, plus a spoon.

DAY ONE

DAY TWO

  • Breakfast: Green Eggs, No Ham + 1 Slice Whole Grain (gluten-free if preferred) Toast + Cherries
  • Lunch: Leftover Rainbow Rotisserie Chicken Salad (recipe above)
  • Snack: Banana Slices + Peanut Butter
  • Dinner: Crunchy Lentil Tacos + 1 Glass Wine (optional) + Apple Slices w/ Cinnamon

DAY THREE

BONUS! Free MIND Diet Tracker!

If you’re serious about eating for better brain health, download your FREE MIND Diet Tracker to remind you to eat all these delicious brain-healthy foods every week!

MIND Diet Recipes Tracker printable PDF

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE MIND DIET TRACKER!

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Diet first, supplements second

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15 Comments

  1. John Lindemulder says:

    Why no comment (pro or con) re alcohol other than wine? Thank you?

    1. Hi John! Thanks so much for your comment/question. The MIND diet only mentions wine specifically, 5 ounces per day, as having a benefit to cognition and brain health. There are certainly other studies looking at alcohol on brain and overall health, and from everything I have read, as you mentioned, there are pros and cons. Overaall, from the research I have seen, moderate alcohol, defined as up to 2 drinks/day for men, and up to 1 drink per/day for women, may be safe for some, but not all-I certainly haven’t seen enough health benefits to suggest someone start drinking moderate amounts if they currently don’t drink.

  2. gloria monti says:

    i need a modified version of this diet suitable for gluten-free vegans.

  3. I LOVE this post!! This topic is interesting to me. Maggie is actually going to be speaking about her research and book next month at the NACUFS Nutrition Summit that I’m organizing here on the USC campus!

    1. Thank you so much Lindsey! Maggie is such a passionate speaker on the MIND diet-I’m sure she will give another great presentation. Enjoy!

      1. Siobhan Fogarty says:

        Less than one serving of pastry per week actually ?

  4. II’ve heard of the diet but not this book. I like that she covers including other cuisines as I tend to eat all over the globe if you know what I mean. The limit high fat is also the one I would find the hardest. I go through phases though and can go a few weeks without cheese and then all of a sudden it is one my mind and in my fridge! How does that happen?? NAyway, thanks for sharing this with us and including the yummy, pinnable links. I will start adding them to boards to try very soon!

    1. Ha! I think we are two peas in a pod when it comes to out cheese eating habits πŸ™‚ I do think it’s a good eye opener to know how much cheese I eat on a regular basis. I haven’t found it to be too hard to limit it to 3-4 times per week. Once a week might be a pretty big challenge though πŸ™‚

  5. Love the three day meal plan with recipes at the end! Thanks for sharing this awesome information!

  6. I love this book! I actually bought it so early on preorder Maggie told me I had got my copy even before her lol! I loved this EA and am going to send to my mom and dad. They’ve been trying to implement more of the MIND diet given my Grandma’s condition and this will be a great addition to their progress. Thank. you!

    1. So glad you know about the book Liz! I’m giving a copy to my parent’s too πŸ™‚

  7. This sounds like a realistic plan to me (not to mention delicious!). THanks for the tips!

    1. You’re welcome Sarah! And, yes, it’s a very realistic plan to follow, with plenty of delicious eats πŸ™‚ Cheers!