Choose Life Series Week 1: Eating the MIND diet

“You are what you eat”

Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1826) phrased in his book, Physiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante, and was literally translated into English as “[Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are]”.

It was not until the 1920s and 30s, when nutritionist Victor Lindlahr, who was a strong believer in the idea that food controls health, developed the Catabolic Diet. In the 1960s, the phrase received new life in the hippy era after it was adopted by an organic food campaigner who believed her years of eating junk food in college led her to cancer and death.


In 2015, Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago developed the “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay” (MIND) diet. Nutritional epidemiologist and lead author in this diet study, Martha Clare Morris, PhD, explained that while genetics and other factors also play a role in the risk of developing dementia, the outcome of the MIND diet helped slow the rate of cognitive decline and protect against the disease. The MIND diet combines both the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets, both of which have been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In their summary, it appears that the longer a person follows the MIND diet, the less risk that person will have of developing the Alzheimers and Dementia diseases. While the study worked in the city of Chicago, it was suggested that results needed more confirmation by other investigators in different populations.


Supposing the MIND diet is something you wish to try out today, the principles is quite simple. There are groups : the food you should be eating, and the food you should avoid. Below are the two recommended list of groups of foods.

10 kinds of foods to include in the MIND Diet

  • Whole grains — 3 or more servings per day
  • Green leafy vegetables — 6 servings per week
  • Other vegetables — 1 serving per day
  • Nuts — 5 servings per week
  • Berries — 2 or more servings per week
  • Beans or legumes — 3 or more servings per week
  • Fish — 1 or more serving per week
  • Poultry — 2 or more servings per week
  • Wine — 1 serving per day
  • Olive oil — use as the main cooking oil

5 kinds of foods to avoid in the MIND Diet

  • Pastries and sweets — less than 5 servings per week
  • Red meat — less than 4 servings per week
  • Cheese — less than 1 serving per week
  • Fried or fast food — less than 1 serving per week
  • Butter and margarine — less than 1 tablespoon per day

If you wish to know more about the diet, click here.


MIND diet or not, in my opinion, 1 serving of wine a day gets a tick of approval of being a good diet. If you are an elderly person and would like someone to assist you in making good food choices this new year, do contact our Home care team on 9412 0270.

Picture from Canadian Living