Eating for Good Brain Health

Did you know that there is a specific diet for brain health?

One of the many areas of interest that is investigated at Alzheimer’s Research Australia is the link between lifestyle and its impact on Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s already been proven that diet and exercise play a major role in the development of Alzheimer’s symptoms. Our lifestyle intervention trial, AU-ARROW, is identifying exactly what people can do to change their risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

One of the aspects of lifestyle that is easy to change is what we eat and how we fuel our bodies. The MIND diet has been specifically designed to focus on foods that may have a positive impact on brain health. The MIND diet is associated with potential cognitive benefits and a reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.

Why is it called the MIND diet?

MIND is an acronym that stands for the Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. It incorporates elements of the Mediterranean and DASH diets. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

The diet contains foods rich in certain vitamins, and the naturally occurring compounds carotenoids and flavonoids, that are believed to protect the brain by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.

Another component of the MIND diet – oily fish – is a great source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which is required to keep the brain functioning normally and efficiently.

Although the MIND diet aims to improve brain health, it may also benefit heart health, diabetes, and certain cancers because it includes components of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, which have been shown to lower the risk of these diseases.

Following MIND diet guidelines may support overall brain health and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative conditions. Variety is Key! Maintain a diverse and balanced diet for a wide range of nutrients.


MIND diet guidelines

More Veggies: Eat plenty of leafy greens and colourful vegetables.

1+ serving per day of vegetables, as well as 6+ servings per week of green leafy vegetables

Whole Grains: Choose whole grains over refined ones for better brain health.

3+ servings per day of whole grains

Nuts, Berries and Beans: Include nuts and legumes in your diet regularly.

5+ servings per week of nuts

4+ meals per week with beans

2+ servings per week of berries

Healthy Fats: Use olive oil as your main source of fat.

Fish Weekly: Aim to eat fish, especially those high in omega-3 fatty acids, at least once per week.

Lean Meats: Limit your intake of red meat and opt for lean protein sources.

2+ meals per week of poultry

Less than 4 servings per week of red meat (including beef, pork, lamb, and products made from these meats)

Cut Back on Sweets and Dairy: Limit your consumption of sweets, pastries, and dairy.

Less than 5 servings per week of pastries and sweets

Less than one serving per week of cheese and fried foods

Less than 1 tablespoon a day of butter/margarine