The MIND Diet: Pros and Cons + Meal Plan and Shopping List

Did you know your diet can be a way to keep your brain sharp? The MIND diet may be the answer. 

Research suggests that the MIND diet can help protect your brain health and prevent the progressive worsening of confusion or memory loss. Moreover, it can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. (1) 

This article discusses the pros and cons of the MIND diet and provides you with a shopping list and meal plan.

What is the Mind Diet?

MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH intervention for neurodegenerative delay. DASH is the acronym for dietary approaches to stop hypertension. 

The MIND diet was created specifically for brain health and includes foods backed by research to improve brain function and prevent cognitive decline. It’s a combination of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet.

This diet emphasizes eating wholesome, natural foods with more specific guidelines to follow than in the a standard Mediterranean-type diet. 

While the MIND diet is not a weight loss plan, the pounds might still melt away due to beneficial changes in eating habits.

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is based on Greek, Italian, and other Mediterranean countries’ traditional cuisines. 

So, the Mediterranean diet is high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Lean meat and wine are also included in this meal pattern, while processed foods are highly discouraged. This style of eating also encourages enjoying meals with friends and family.

This diet is inclusive and delicious, making it easy to follow and, therefore, effective.

The Dash Diet

You might assume that the DASH diet is just a low-sodium diet. However, it isn’t the traditional low-sodium diet. In addition to encouraging the restriction of sodium, it also emphasizes eating foods that are high in calcium, potassium, magnesium, and fiber. 

The DASH diet includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy, fish, poultry, beans, and nuts. This diet aims to limit sodium and foods high in saturated fats. 

The MIND diet’s pros and cons are directly related to those of both of these diets.

Mind diet pros and cons

Mind Diet Pros and Cons

Mind Diet Pros

The MIND diet is beneficial in many ways. The most significant benefit of this diet is that it provides the brain with rich sources of fiber and contains nutrients essential for cognitive function. 

MIND Diet and Cognitive Decline

The MIND diet can help protect your ability to learn, focus, and make decisions. In other words, it can help protect against cognitive decline.(2, 3) 

What is cognition?

Cognition is all of the brain processes involved in understanding, learning, focusing, remembering, and making judgments. (4) When cognition is compromised, it can affect your brain health, everyday life, and your personality. 

Cognitive decline is the progressive worsening of confusion, memory loss, or focus, or a decline in the ability to make judgments. Cognitive decline can range from a mild impairment, like forgetting where you put your phone, to more extreme cases, such as dementia.

The MIND diet protects against cognitive decline even in the absence of Alzheimer’s. 

MIND Diet and Alzheimer’s DiseaseMIND Diet and Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is, unfortunately, common among older adults. However, it starts developing much earlier than the golden years, giving you a window of opportunity to protect your brain function before the disease has had a chance to progress. 

An interesting study shows that after an average of 4.5 years, people who adhered most closely to the MIND diet had a 53% reduced rate of Alzheimer’s compared to those who did not follow the diet closely.

Links Between MIND Diet Foods and Brain Health

Specific components of the  MIND diet are linked to brain health. 

For example, a recent study found that mice fed a diet high in salt had higher levels of tau, a protein found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. (5)  

Another example is the research suggesting that a daily serving of leafy green vegetables is associated with slower cognitive decline.(6) 

Blueberries are another great example of foods included in the MIND diet to protect your brain health. Blueberries are rich in nutrients (called polyphenols) that are known to benefit cognitive performance and mood. (7)

In my expert opinion, while we still need more research, there is no doubt that the MIND diet is healthy and sustainable. The MIND diet can protect your brain health but will do much more than that –  it will protect your overall health.

Mind Diet Cons

There are no disadvantages to this diet. However, it’s good to keep in mind that other elements of a healthy lifestyle are also necessary for brain health, such as a good night’s sleep and regular physical activity.

MIND Diet Principles

10 Foods to Include

  1. Eat green leafy vegetables most days, such as kale, arugula, spinach, and collard greens.
  2. Include fresh vegetables every day (two servings or more). If fresh vegetables are not available, frozen vegetables are a good choice.
  3. Eat berries at least two times per week.
  4. Snack on nuts or add nuts or seeds to your meals at least five days a week.
  5. Enjoy olive oil daily.
  6. Eat at least three servings of whole grains per day.
  7. Eat fish every week. Choose fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines often.
  8. Include lean proteins such as poultry at least twice per week.
  9. Include legumes like beans, garbanzo, and lentils at least three times a week.
  10. Drink wine in moderation (one glass a day).

5 Foods to Limit or Avoid

  1. Butter and margarine. Use healthier fats such as olive oil or ghee more often and limit or avoid butter and margarine.
  2. Cheese. Limit to one slice a week.
  3. Fried foods. Try using an air fryer as a way to enjoy your favorite fried foods.
  4. Sweets and pastries. Limit eating sweets to a few times a week. If you have a  sweet tooth, choose healthier versions of your favorite foods or just eat them less often and in small quantities. 
  5. Red meat. Limit to one time a week.
Mind diet pros and cons

MIND Diet Shopping List

Click here for a PDF version of the MIND diet shopping list

Food TypeFoods to EatTips 
Fish/seafoodFatty fish like salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel are preferred, but all types of fish are a good choice. 
All seafood.
Avoid or limit fried and salted fish and seafood.  
PoultryChicken, turkey, eggs.Avoid or limit fried chicken and turkey.
LegumesBeans, lentils, chickpeas, and all types of legumes.If you buy legumes in cans, rinse them in water before using them.
VegetablesGreen leafy vegetables.
All fresh or frozen vegetables.
Limit canned vegetables, fried vegetables, or vegetables cooked with large amounts of fat.
FruitBerries.
All fresh and frozen fruits.
Avoid canned fruits packed in syrup. Limit fruit juice.
Nuts and seedsFlaxseeds, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, sunflower, and sesame seeds. 
Nut butter such as almond and peanut butter.
Avoid salted nuts.
Nut butter: look for natural versions and avoid those with added sugar.
Whole grainsOats, whole wheat pasta, farro, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, whole wheat bread, and other whole grains.Limit white rice, white pasta, and anything without fiber.
Healthy fatsOlive oilLimit butter and avoid margarine.
Herbs and SpicesCinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, ginger, garlic, cayenne, black pepper, basil, oregano, cumin, thyme, clove, and cinnamon.Limit spices with salt.
TreatsDark chocolate.Limit all sweets and pastries.

5 Day Sample Meal Plan

Monday

  • Breakfast: Greek yogurt with blueberries, topped with walnuts.
  • Lunch: Whole wheat chicken breast sandwich, no mayo. Add flavor by using dijon mustard. Serve with a piece of fruit.
  • Dinner: Quinoa, fish, and vegetable bowl.

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: Whole wheat toast with avocado, arugula, sliced hard-boiled egg.
  • Lunch: Greek salad topped with grilled chicken.
  • Dinner: Whole wheat pasta with vegetables, tomato sauce, and a small amount of your favorite cheese (one ounce).

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: Overnight oats with strawberries and your favorite nuts.
  • Lunch: Green salad (use spinach or arugula) topped with shrimp or fish. Use olive oil and vinegar as dressing. Serve with whole wheat crackers or add a whole grain like farro to the salad.
  • Dinner: One pan chicken, sweet potatoes, and veggies.

Read more  Jumpstart to Skinny: Lose 20 Pounds in 21 Days

Thursday

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with your favorite vegetables and whole wheat bread.
  • Lunch:  Vegetable soup, grilled chicken, and whole wheat crackers.
  • Dinner:  Shrimp shish kebabs served with couscous.

Friday

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal cooked with apples. Add nuts on top.
  • Lunch: Salad with roasted veggies and grilled salmon.
  • Dinner: Baked chicken breast, rice, beans, and salad (use olive oil and lime as dressing)

Conclusion

Even though research is growing surrounding the MIND diet, the research that has been complete shows promising results regarding dietary interventions for cognitive decline. Could eating this way early in life help you reduce your chances of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s? It might be a great diet to implement since the chances are high!

After reviewing the MIND diet’s pros and cons, our expert opinion is that the MIND diet is good for brain health and great for your overall health. Plus, this diet is delicious and easy to follow.

“The Mind Diet Pros and Cons” was written by Su-Nui Escobar, DCN, RDN, FAND, in collaboration with Registered Dietitian Meagan Murphy.



— Update: 25-12-2022 — We found an additional article What Is the MIND Diet? This Eating Approach Could Keep Your Brain Healthy from the website www.askmen.com for the keyword mind diet pros and cons.

This Diet Can Do Wonders for Your Brain Health as You Age — Here’s What to Know

What you eat can have a major impact on your body — weight, your ability to build muscle, and so on — but did you know that it can affect your mind, too? Research has shown that eating certain foods (and limiting others) can slow down the brain aging process by 7.5 years. The MIND Diet is based on this principle, and studies have shown that it can improve your memory and thinking skills as you age and even ward off Alzheimer’s disease.

Think of the MIND Diet as a fusion between the Mediterranean Diet and DASH Diet, focusing on heart-healthy plant-based foods without restricting animal products entirely. And according to registered dietitians, this diet is a safe and effective approach for just about anyone. 

RELATED: Feeling Down? Your Nutrition Could Be to Blame

How does it work, you ask? Below, experts share everything you need to know about the MIND Diet: what perks to expect, what potential pitfalls to be aware of, and tips for getting started.


The MIND Diet, Explained


The MIND Diet is an acronym for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. Quite a mouthful, but really all that means is that it leverages key principles of the Mediterranean and DASH diets to reduce your risk of dementia and other symptoms relating to cognitive decline.

The Mediterranean Diet is a well-researched eating approach that’s modeled after the diets of people in Greece and Italy, focusing on whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, and herbs and spices, with healthy fats from fish, olive oil, and nuts and seeds. The DASH Diet, meanwhile, is aimed at lowering blood pressure by focusing on whole grains, fruits, and veggies, while limiting sodium and saturated fat.

According to Brenda Peralta, a registered dietitian, sports nutritionist, and certified diabetes educator for FeastGood.com, the MIND Diet is particularly well-suited to anyone approaching the age or over the age of 50 for this reason: it supports brain health while also reducing your risk of chronic conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease.


Benefits of the MIND Diet


Experts agree that there are lots of valid reasons you might want to try the MIND Diet. Here are just a few of the benefits:

Reduced Inflammation

Chronic inflammation can wreak havoc on your vital organs, and is linked to a slew of common diseases like cancer, heart disease, depression, and diabetes. Fortunately, according to Peralta, the MIND Diet may be able to reduce inflammation in the body. This may be because plant-based foods like leafy greens, berries, and nuts and seeds are packed with polyphenols and other compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties.

Improved Brain Health With Age

In one 2016 study of older adults, people who followed the MIND diet the closest had a whopping 53% lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease compared to people who didn’t follow it. Even people who only moderately followed the MIND Diet still seemed to reap some of these brain-protective benefits with a lowered risk of Alzheimer’s by an average of 35%.

Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases

“Because the foods included in this diet are naturally rich in antioxidants, adhering to this diet may help reduce oxidative stress within the diet,” says Kristin Gillespie, MS, a registered dietitian and advisor for Exercise With Style. “Oxidative stress ultimately leads to inflammation and the development of many chronic illnesses, including Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease. These antioxidants can help protect the brain, as well as the rest of the body, against these ailments.”

Improved Blood Sugar

The MIND Diet emphasizes complex carbs like whole grains, beans and lentils, fruit, and vegetables, which take longer to digest and therefore don’t spike blood sugar levels. As a result, FWDfuel Sports Nutrition registered dietitian Abby Grimm says it may help with maintaining balanced blood sugar. That’s why she highly recommends it for anyone diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes.

Weight Loss

Grimm says the MIND Diet may also prove helpful if you’re seeking to shed some pounds. A 2017 study showed that people who follow plant-based diets tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who don’t. A 2020 study, meanwhile, discovered that plant-based diets can rev up your metabolism, triggering an “after-burn effect” that results in an 18.7% increase in calories burned after a meal.


Potential Drawbacks of the MIND Diet


Since it focuses on whole foods in their natural form without excluding any key food groups, Peralta says you’ll be hard-pressed to find any disadvantages to this diet.

“The MIND diet doesn’t really come with any health risks since it’s pretty balanced,” adds Michelle Hawksworth, a registered dietician for Muscle and Brawn. “It focuses on the consistent intake of a variety of healthy food groups.”

There are just two potential pitfalls to note. For one, Gillespie points out that since the MIND Diet limits animal products, you may be more prone to a vitamin B12, calcium, or iron deficiency. These nutrients are more prominent and easily absorbed through meat, dairy, and other animal-derived foods, so she recommends monitoring your intake to ensure you’re meeting your daily needs. Grimm also says you should be careful if you’re consuming a lot of seafood on the MIND Diet, as some types of fish can contain high levels of harmful heavy metals and other toxins. 

The FDA advises avoiding King mackerel, swordfish, tilefish, marlin, and bigeye tuna as much as possible as these varieties are often loaded with mercury.


Foods to Eat and Avoid on the MIND Diet


As a general rule, following the MIND Diet means eating more whole, plant-based foods and less animal products and processed foods. Here’s some expert guidance on which foods to add to your shopping cart, as well as which ones to avoid as much as possible:

What to Eat Daily:

  • Vegetables: Aim to “eat the rainbow” to get the greatest variety of vitamins, including cruciferous veggies (Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli), eggplant, zucchini, carrots, peppers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, etc. Make sure to incorporate at least five servings of leafy greens (spinach, kale, romaine) per week.
  • Fruit: Again, diversity is key, so try incorporating a wide range of fruits. Ideally, prioritize berries for a boost of antioxidants.
  • Nuts: Almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, etc.
  • Seeds: Pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, etc.
  • Whole grains: Oatmeal, quinoa, farro, brown rice, 100% whole-wheat bread and wraps, etc.
  • Legumes: Black beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
  • Monounsaturated fats: Avocados, avocado oil, olives, olive oil, etc.

What to Eat Regularly (Two to Three Times a Week):

  • Fish: Salmon, trout, tuna and mackerel are excellent picks due to their high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Poultry: Chicken, turkey, etc. Ideally, seek out certified organic poultry.
  • Low-fat dairy: Yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, etc.
  • Eggs: Opt for organic, pasture-raised whenever possible.
  • Red wine: Stick to one glass a day. Research has shown that red wine may be good for your heart due to its antioxidant content, but only in moderation.

What to Rarely Eat, If Ever:

  • Processed foods: Potato chips, packaged sweets like cookies and doughnuts, candy, sweetened breakfast cereals, energy bars, frozen dinners
  • Refined grains: White bread, pasta, and rice; any baked goods made with white flour
  • Trans fats: Margarine, shortening, etc
  • Dairy high in saturated fat: Cheese, butter, whole milk
  • Red meat: Beef, veal, pork, lamb, etc. especially processed meats, like sausage, bacon, and pepperoni
  • Sugary beverages: Soda, sweetened juice, sports and energy drinks, flavored bottled coffee drinks, etc.

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— Update: 25-12-2022 — We found an additional article The Pros and Cons of 7 Popular Diet Plans from the website foodal.com for the keyword mind diet pros and cons.

It’s no surprise that diet programs make big promises.

But, not all of them are effective, and some are anything but healthy. And there’s certainly no shortage of those that are just plain crazy – like the Twinkie diet!

Mind diet pros and cons

Many of us are looking for a bit of health help, whether the goal is to lose weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease, improve sleep, or simply increase energy levels.

And it can be mighty confusing to try to find a program that will suit our needs, as well as our tastes and lifestyles.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled an overview of seven popular programs. Some offer weight loss, while others focus on specifics like heart and brain health – and all promise to be beneficial for greater overall health and vitality.

Just to be clear, none of these programs fit into the “lose 30 pounds in 3 days” niche. They’re all geared towards adopting a long term eating plan that will contribute to a healthier, happier you.

To help you make an informed choice, in this article we’re looking at the pros and cons of the following diet programs:

  • Mediterranean
  • Paleo
  • DASH
  • Vegan
  • MIND
  • Flexitarian
  • Raw Foods

And there’s also a cookbook recommendation for each program to help you get started.

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet Heart Healthy Recipes & Desserts Cookbook provides healthy recipes, medical research, a background of the Mediterranean lifestyle, practical tips, and details the benefits as well as potential side effects.

Several health authorities recommend the Mediterranean diet as a heart healthy eating plan, and the combination of foods has also been shown to effectively improve insulin sensitivity, making it a good option for diabetics as well.

Plus, it’s a good choice for sensible weight loss, of the slow and steady variety.

Mind diet pros and cons

Mediterranean Diet Heart Healthy Recipes & Desserts Cookbook

For optimal nutrition from natural sources, it provides a balanced choice of foods that includes fish, poultry, vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, and whole grains as well as healthy fats.

It does allow for some pasta and breads, although the bread is traditionally dipped in olive oil or spread with Greek tzatziki sauce, and not slathered in margarine or butter.

Mind diet pros and cons

Plentiful in herbs and spices, it emphasizes a reduction in processed foods, salt intake, and red meat consumption.

Pros

Adopting a traditional Mediterranean eating plan has several health benefits to offer.

Among them, it’s heart smart, lowers the risk of developing diabetes, and it trims down the pounds.

Plus, it’s a well-researched program that has been proven effective.

With a strong emphasis on plant-based recipes, it provides a good balance of carbs, proteins, healthy fats, and all the nutrients needed for optimal health.

Mind diet pros and cons

The Mediterranean Diet is economical and easy to follow with basic, fresh ingredients, and is easily adapted for a broad menu selection. A classic Greek salad is a perfect example of utilizing fresh, Mediterranean flavors and ingredients.

And, this food lifesytyle allows for a daily glass of red wine!

Cons

While most folks will enjoy the moderate consumption of wine, it may not be a good choice to mix with certain medications. But, a glass of purple grape juice makes a suitable alternative.

The Bottom Line

Sensible, smart eating at its best, the Mediterranean option is beneficial for specific health concerns (like heart health and diabetes) and is one of the best for overall vitality.

Mind diet pros and cons

The suggested foods are adaptable for an interesting and varied menu, with delicious meals that are easy to prepare and sure to satisfy.

Follow your heart (healthy) to Amazon now and check out this diet book.

The Paleo Diet

Updated with a comprehensive explanation of the 4R protocol (Remove, Repair, Reinoculate, and Reintroduce), Practical Paleo, 2nd Edition provides recipes, tips to weather holidays and parties, and a 30-day eating plan.

The Paleo program is based on the eating habits of our prehistoric ancestors.

Mind diet pros and cons

Practical Paleo, 2nd Edition (Updated and Expanded): A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle

Of course, they didn’t leave menus for us to follow, so it does make some assumptions. But we can be pretty sure they didn’t eat a lot of processed foods.

On Paleo, foods mimic what early hunter-gatherers would have dined on. There’s plenty of animal proteins and fats from game, wild salmon, grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, and eggs, as well as moderate amounts of unprocessed carbs from fruit and vegetables, and some healthy fats from raw nuts and seeds.

Mind diet pros and cons

An interesting concept of this plan is that you can jump right in to the nitty-gritty phase, or transition gradually to the more restrictive phase over a couple of weeks.

The first phase permits some meals from your old eating regime and transitional items such as condiments, which you wean off of as the plan progresses.

By phase two, all processed and packaged foods are eliminated, as are grains, beans, legumes, dairy, and added salt.

Pros

Processed and high calorie foods are significantly reduced, which lessens the body’s glycemic load and leads to weight loss.

There’s no calorie counting, which makes it easy to implement and follow, and it also provides a feeling of satiety.

The flexible introductory period makes it an easy plan to stick with, which can lead to long term success.

Cons

Paleo excludes food groups such as dairy, legumes, beans, and grains with no concrete evidence that this improves overall health.

And with the lack of dairy products and whole grains, nutritional deficiencies can result, with supplements required to meet baseline health requirements.

Most versions of this diet encourage consumption of large amounts of meat products, including red meat. This is contrary to prevalent health advice, including the American Cancer Society’s Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention.

Mind diet pros and cons

And you can expect a hit to your wallet. Products such as grass-fed and steroid-free beef, wild game, and free-range chicken are all considerably more expensive than their traditionally farmed counterparts.

Because of the heavy focus on meat, a fairly common complaint is that it also lacks variety – which can lead to boredom and straying from the path.

The Bottom Line

Research on the Paleo diet is quite limited, making long-term health claims somewhat unsound. Although initial weight loss is generally experienced, new evidence suggests weight gain and increased insulin resistance in the long term.

With a primary focus on specialty meat products, it’s an expensive plan to follow. And with animal proteins suggested for every meal, you have to be a real meat-lover to stick with it.

Pick up your copy on Amazon today.

The DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)

The DASH for Beginners cookbook includes nutrient-rich whole food recipes, tips for making the DASH plan work, and an eating plan.

In recent years, the DASH program has consistently earned the top spot in diet plan rankings (as rated by US News & World Report) as best overall, the healthiest, and the best diet for diabetics.

Mind diet pros and cons

DASH Diet for Beginners: A DASH Diet Quick Start Guide to Fast Natural Weight Loss, Lower Blood Pressure and Better Health

It’s effective at reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as lowering the risk and development of several chronic degenerative diseases such as cancers, heart disease and stroke, diabetes, and kidney failure.

DASH focuses on plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat and heart-smart fats, fish, poultry, lean meat, beans, and nuts – with red meats, sugary drinks, sodium intake, and processed grains minimized.

Mind diet pros and cons

Portion size is emphasized over calorie counting, as is eating a variety of healthy foods in order to obtain essential nutrition from whole food sources.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends DASH as an effective plan to manage blood pressure. And the US Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Americans (2010) endorses it (and the Mediterranean), for its well-documented and substantial health benefits.

Pros

Studies have shown the DASH plan to dramatically reduce blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.

It also meets the nutrient requirements of the US Institute of Medicine, thanks to the natural sources of nutrient-dense foods.

DASH encourages making healthy food choices, and provides enough variety to satisfy hunger and taste buds.

Consistent, steady weight reduction is another benefit.

Cons

For effective results, portion sizes need to be diligently regulated, which can be challenging for some folks.

Followers of the plan will need to develop the habit of reading labels to eliminate hidden sources of sodium and sugar.

The Bottom Line

The DASH diet is another well-rounded plan that’s rich in natural foods. It delivers on the promises of heart health, alleviating diabetes, and overall health and vitality.

The suggested foods can be adapted for numerous delicious recipes, and most find it satisfying – even with limited portion sizes.

Read what others had to say on Amazon.

Vegan

The Vegan Black Book provides recipes that promise to be fast, easy, and delicious – and there’s an enticing photo with every recipe to inspire the fledgling vegan.

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Like vegetarians, vegans don’t eat meat, poultry, or fish.

But, while some vegetarians will consume animal byproducts, vegans won’t eat or use items produced by animal labor or animal exploitation. This includes eggs, dairy, honey, wool, leather, silk, and cosmetics or soaps derived from animal products or labor.

Mind diet pros and cons

Vegan Black Book: The Vegan Foodie Cookbook

Vegans often go this extra mile not only for dietary purposes, but also because of humane, ethical, and environmental motives.

Pros

With no animal proteins and plenty of whole foods, a vegan eating plan is low in saturated fats and cholesterol, which results in lower serum cholesterol and blood pressure for a healthy heart.

It can also improve valuable antioxidant intake, due to the abundance of fruits, berries, and vegetables.

Mind diet pros and cons

Plus, fiber intake is usually greater than a standard diet because of the plentiful whole grains, beans, and legumes – which can help with feelings of satiety, and regular elimination.

Cons

Adopting a vegan eating program can be a radical change, and learning how to plan meals that provide all of the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals can be a steep learning curve.

Vegan diets can be low in certain nutrients such as vitamins B12 and D, calcium, folate, and omega-3 fatty acids, requiring the use of supplements or fortified foods.

And relying on proteins from only plant sources, such as pulses and legumes, can lead to digestive difficulties for some.

Mind diet pros and cons

Vegans also need to ensure adequate calcium intake to protect bone health and prevent osteoporosis. One large study in the UK over a five-year period found a 75 percent greater incidence of bone fractures among vegans compared to vegetarians, fish eaters, and meat eaters.

The Bottom Line

Highly restrictive in food groups, veganism shows no discernable improvement in health benefits over vegetarian or plant based diets such as the Mediterranean. And supplements or fortified foods are often needed to meet essential nutrition requirements.

Mind diet pros and cons

You can also expect to dedicate a substantial amount of time to learning how to cook meals that will taste good and satisfy hunger.

Find out what the chatter is about on Amazon.

The MIND Diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay)

Power Foods for the Brain outlines a 3-step plan on which foods to increase and which to avoid, interesting research, a detailed menu plan with recipes, and time saving tips for a new eating regime.

The MIND eating plan has taken the benefits of two proven programs (DASH and the Mediterranean), and tweaked them with the foods that can directly improve brain health, and prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Mind diet pros and cons

Power Foods for the Brain: An Effective 3-Step Plan to Protect Your Mind and Strengthen Your Memory

The MIND focus is on eating an abundance of brain-healthy foods with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, and eliminating those that contribute to neurodegenerative disease.

The ten brain-boosting foods promoted by this plan are leafy green veggies and vegetables in general, berries, beans, whole grains, nuts, fish, poultry, olive oil, and red wine (or purple grape juice for the teetotalers).

Mind diet pros and cons

The unhealthy foods to be avoided are the usual suspects – red meat, butter, cheese, stick margarine, refined sugars and flours (i.e. sweets and pastries), fast foods, and fried foods.

Those who strictly adhere to the MIND plan have been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s on an average of 53 percent, according to studies published in the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. And in the same study, those with only moderate adherence to the MIND plan still improved their risk reduction by an average of 35 percent.

Pros

The MIND diet has been shown to significantly lower the odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Even moderate adherence shows a substantial decrease in the chance of developing AD.

Mind diet pros and cons

No foods are completely forbidden, and the occasional indulgence can be helpful in sticking to the overall plan.

Getting the required daily and weekly servings of the 10 recommended brain-boosting foods is easy to achieve.

Staying the course is relatively easy, as most will find the menus and portion sizes to be sufficiently satisfying and filling.

Cons

A bit of organization and meal planning is required to stay within the guidelines.

The Bottom Line

The MIND plan has refined two health-inducing diets to provide an improvement in overall health, as well as outstanding results for a healthy, youthful brain.

With flexible guidelines, it’s easy to follow with oodles of fresh, natural ingredients, satisfying portions, and tasty meals.

Check out this brain boosting phenomenon on Amazon now. 

The Flexitarian Diet

The Healthy Hedonist cookbook offers a variety of mainly vegetarian recipes using fresh, whole foods that will satisfy a variety of eating habits.

The primary focus of the Flexitarian menu is mostly vegetarian, with the primary source of proteins coming from plants such as legumes, beans, and tofu. But it does allow for the occasional foray into meat-based meals of fish and poultry, and even small portions of red meat.

Mind diet pros and cons

The Healthy Hedonist: More Than 200 Delectable Flexitarian Recipes for Relaxed Daily Feasts

It provides the many health benefits of a plant based menu, such as improved heart health, lower blood glucose levels, and weight loss, but doesn’t leave carnivores feeling completely deprived.

Rather than removing certain foods, new groups are introduced and emphasized in the Flexitarian regime that crowd out the old. The five main food groups are the “new meat” products of beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and tofu, plus fruits and veggies, whole grains, dairy, sweeteners and spices.

Mind diet pros and cons

As the name suggests, menus can be quite flexible with a wide assortment of satisfying vegetarian, fish, and poultry recipes fitting the program criteria.

Pros

The Flexitarian Diet doesn’t completely remove meat from the table, which can make it easier to follow for those who don’t want to commit to full-time vegetarianism. But it still delivers all of the health benefits of a plant based regime.

Mind diet pros and cons

Effective for improving overall health, many also find weight loss to be a nice side benefit.

A flexible eating plan makes it easily adaptable to most tastes, and tasty plant-based meals will provide plenty of fiber for feelings of satisfaction and satiation.

Cons

The very flexibility of this program might be detrimental for those who like a lot of structure to guide their eating, particularly if your focus is weight loss.

If you’re not familiar with plant proteins, learning how to work with the “new meats” can be somewhat time consuming at the beginning.

Vitamin and mineral supplements are usually recommended, to get all the essential baseline nutrients.

The Bottom Line

A good diet for those who want the health benefits of meatless meals, but don’t want to give up meat entirely. But be prepared to spend a bit more time initially on meal preparation.

Grab a copy over on Amazon and find out more now.

The Raw Food Diet

The Practically Raw cookbook is a good introduction to raw cuisine. With recipes and full color illustrations, it also contains nutritional information, a pantry list, and info on techniques and required equipment.

Proponents of a raw food diet claim that foods in their natural, whole state contain nutrients and enzymes that break down or are lost in cooking.

Mind diet pros and cons

Practically Raw: Flexible Raw Recipes Anyone Can Make

The idea is that these enzymes help the body absorb nutrients better, and ward off chronic disease, resulting in greater health.

However, nutritionists tell us this is a limited view. Some vegetables, such as tomatoes, spinach, kale, onions, and garlic, are more nutritious after being lightly cooked, as cooking releases compounds that would otherwise go undigested.

The main components of a raw foods plan are organic fruits, vegetables, sprouted grains, seeds, and nuts. Dried or dehydrated foods are also permitted, provided they contain no additives, and fermented foods are encouraged. Some will also consume unpasteurized dairy foods, and products like raw eggs, fish, and meats.

Mind diet pros and cons

Processed and pasteurized foods are completely eliminated, and it’s naturally low in sodium as well.

Pros

Eating an abundance of fresh fruits and veggies is beneficial for heart health, as they aid in the control of blood pressure and cholesterol. And the low sodium content also contributes to the risk reduction for some cancers and stroke.

With the elimination of processed foods, chances are very good you’ll lose weight on this plan.

Cons

With severely restricted food groups, meal planning can be onerous and a lack of variety can result in boredom.

Prepping for meals can also be time consuming, as blending ingredients, dehydrating foods, and germinating nuts and seed sprouts are important components.

Mind diet pros and cons

If you choose to go organic as recommended, ingredient selection at your local grocery store can be limited, and organic produce is typically more expensive than traditional produce.

As unpasteurized foods can also be susceptible to foodborne pathogens, this diet can be risky for certain folks – particularly pregnant women, the elderly, those with weakened immune systems, organ transplant recipients, and those with chronic disease.

Plus, some people find that it contributes to digestive issues.

Common complaints with a raw foods regime are feelings of hunger and weakness, and bland-tasting dishes.

And supplementation with vitamins and minerals is required to meet essential nutrition.

The Bottom Line

Healthy in the aspect that it eliminates processed foods, the strict guidelines of a raw diet also eliminate many food groups that are usually recommended for balanced nutrition.

Mind diet pros and cons

Food preparation can be time consuming, out of season and organic produce can be expensive, and you’ll need to invest in a good blender and dehydrator as well.

This regime is not suitable for those with compromised immune systems or digestive problems. If you have digestive issues, you might want to consider an alternative low FODMAP diet plan.

The Long-Term Vision

Some simple changes in what we consume can have a profound effect on all aspects of our lives, not just physical health. Emotional well being, self-esteem, relationships, work, and of course, longevity can all benefit from adopting a healthier eating plan.

If you have a hard time sticking to a new diet, we’d also suggest you pick up a copy of The Power of Habit.

Mind diet pros and cons

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

It’s an easy reads with top-notch advice on how to adopt empowering new thoughts and behaviors, like smart eating.

References

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About the Author: Tung Chi