6 MIND Diet Recipes to Give Your Brain a Boost
According to Williams, food can improve brain health in two major ways. First, antioxidant-rich and anti-inflammatory foods can help fight the free-radical damage and low-grade inflammation that lead to declining brain health. Second, foods that are nutrient-dense with protein, B vitamins, choline, vitamin C, iron, and zinc may support neurotransmitters, which carry messages between brain cells directing essential functions like sleep, mood, concentration, breathing, heart rate, and hunger.
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So what's the best overall eating pattern to reap these benefits? Science is pointing to the MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay)—it's a combination of the classic Mediterranean diet and the hypertension-focused DASH diet. "Research suggests even moderate adherence to the MIND diet slows brain decline and reduces the risk of Alzheimer's," Williams says.
Cornerstone foods of the MIND diet include leafy greens, berries, nuts, olive oil, beans, whole grains, poultry, and fatty fish (and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids). The recipes featured here follow the MIND diet guidelines. What's more, they are easy to prep and big on flavor.
Hazelnut-Crusted Halibut with Beet and Spinach Salad
Try this recipe: Hazelnut-Crusted Halibut with Beet and Spinach Salad
Swapping in chopped nuts for the usual breadcrumbs is a great way to get the 5 servings of nuts per week that the MIND Diet recommends.
Ingredients: whole-wheat pastry flour, egg whites, hazelnuts, halibut fillets, kosher salt, black pepper, olive oil, navel oranges, balsamic vinegar, beets, baby spinach
Lentil, Arugula, and Avocado Salad
Try this recipe: Lentil, Arugula, and Avocado Salad
Lentils and greens come together to lead this incredibly nutritious dish. And it only takes about 15 minutes to make!
Ingredients: plain Greek yogurt, lemon juice, honey, kosher salt, black pepper, baby arugula, radicchio, cherry tomatoes, roasted pumpkin seeds, lentils, avocado
Grilled Chicken with Mole Black Beans
Try this recipe: Grilled Chicken with Mole Black Beans
Followers of the MIND diet should get about three to four servings of beans a week, and this dish is a great way to get those in. The smoky black beans are reminiscent of a classic mole, in a fraction of the time.
Ingredients: chicken thighs, ancho chile powder, kosher salt, cooking spray, scallions, olive oil, onion, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, black beans, bittersweet chocolate, instant espresso, red wine vinegar, radishes, fresh cilantro
Whole-Grain Pasta Primavera
Try this recipe: Whole-Grain Pasta Primavera
Crisp, vibrant veggies are a great way to compliment this light pasta dish. Like the name suggests, this will be a perfect staple for your springtime menu.
Ingredients: whole-wheat penne, broccoli, asparagus, green peas, olive oil, kosher salt, red pepper flakes, feta cheese, basil
Chicken and Wheat Berry Bowl
Try this recipe: Chicken and Wheat Berry Bowl
Give your brain a boost with wheat berries—whole-wheat kernels—and lean chicken. And if you've never tried it, blueberries and red wine vinegar make a surprisingly delicious flavor combo.
Ingredients: wheat berries, green beans, chicken, kosher salt, black pepper, olive oil, red wine vinegar, tarragon, Dijon mustard, blueberries, toasted walnuts
Salmon-Kale Summer Rolls
Try this recipe: Salmon-Kale Summer Rolls
Asian-style rolls may seem tricky to make at home, but these summer rolls are super easy—just pile in the salmon and veggies and enjoy.
Ingredients: brown sushi rice, light brown sugar, rice vinegar, kosher salt, kale, canola oil, rice paper sheets, radishes, cucumbers, avocado, smoked salmon