Nourish Your Brain with the Mediterranean and MIND Diets

We all want to keep our brains healthy and strong, especially when dealing with conditions like Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's. One great way to do that is by eating the right foods. 

The Michael J. Fox Foundation highlights two diets that can help those dealing with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's: the Mediterranean diet, and the MIND diet. The Mediterranean diet is celebrated for its ability to boost general cardiovascular health, and the MIND diet supports brain health.

Research has shown that embracing these diets can reduce the risk of these diseases and possibly slow their progression. 

Registered dietitian Christine Ferguson explains it best: 

"The reason why these two diets are really popular is because they emphasize high intakes of vitamin E, vitamin B12, and folate. So they're really going to stave off that chronic low-grade inflammation that leads to neurodegeneration." You can hear more of Christine's insights in episode six of the Parkinson's Disease Podcast.

So what kinds of foods are in these diets? 

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean Diet is widely considered by nutrition experts to be one of the healthiest diets and includes:

  • Plant-based foods, including fruits, veggies, whole grains, and beans
  • Fish and poultry over red meat
  • Healthy fats, such as nuts and olive oil

What is the MIND Diet?

The MIND diet, short for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, blends the Mediterranean with the DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It includes:

  • Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale
  • Berries, like blueberries and strawberries
  • Whole grains, beans, and nuts
  • A weekly serving of fish

The MIND Diet also recommends limiting the following foods:

  • Butter, margarine, and cheese
  • Red meat - opt for fish and poultry instead
  • Fried food
  • Pastries and sweets

By making mindful dietary choices, you can take proactive steps to support your brain's well-being. Whether you prefer the Mediterranean Diet or the MIND diet, know you are on the path to having a healthier and happier brain!

To learn more about nutrition, please listen to the following episodes of our podcasts: 

Episode four of the Alzheimer’s podcast.