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  • Writer's pictureKarla Benzl, M.D.

What is the MIND Diet?

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

Although dietary recommendations for brain health are in the early ages of research, one Mediterranean inspired diet shows promising results in slowing cognitive decline. This diet is referred to as the MIND Diet. MIND stands for: Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. It is based on research findings among large populations of people over time. Research from the Rush Memory and Aging Project have found a decrease in cognitive decline in groups of people who more strictly adhere to the MIND diet. Currently, researchers at Rush University are also investigating whether the MIND Diet may benefit those with depression.

The MIND Diet includes the following dietary guidelines:

Every Day Foods: Leafy greens, other vegetables, whole grains, vegetable oils such as olive oil

Weekly Foods: Berries, nuts, seafood, poultry, legumes and beans

Foods to limit: red meat, cheese, fast food, butter

Common nutrients within the MIND diet have been linked to brain health include:

Intake of Vit E

Intake of B12, folate, niacin

Intake of flavonoids, beta-carotene, lutein

Intake of seafood and omega-3 fatty acids

See the following recipe for a delicious way to get nuts, berries, and whole grains into your breakfast:

Organic Cocoa and Orange Gluten Free Granola


4 cups organic gluten free rolled oats

1 cup chopped raw organic walnuts

1 cup sliced organic almonds

1/2 cup organic shredded coconut

3-4 tablespoons organic coconut sugar

4 tablespoons organic chia seeds

1 orange

1 cup raw organic cocoa powder

1 cup organic maple syrup

1/2 cup avocado oil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) In a large mixing bowl, mix the oats, shredded coconut, almonds and walnuts

3) In a separate bowl, add the cocoa powder first, then slowly whisk in the avocado oil and maple syrup until you get a smooth consistency. Add the sugar and chia seeds and finish whisking until all ingredients are mixed

4) Pour this mixture over the oats, nuts, and coconut.

5) Grate the outside peel of the orange to make fresh zest, add to the granola

6) Cut the orange in half, squeeze the juiceof the entire orange into the granola (minus the seeds)

7) Mix the granola until the oats are well coated with the cocoa coating and orange

8) Spread parchment paper over a large baking sheet or two medium sized baking sheets, even the oats out well. You may need to bake 2 batches depending on how large the baking sheets are.

9) Bake for 25-27 minutes at 350 degrees

10) Allow the granola to cool

11) Add in 1 cup of dried blueberries, cranberries, or both

12) Add half cup of chocolate chips

13) Store in a sealed container of your choice. I use wide mouthed quart sized mason jars.



Morris, MC. DIET for the MIND: The Latest Science on What to Eat to Prevent Alzheimer’s and Cognitive Decline, 2017. Little, Brown, and Company, NY.

Granola Recipe- I adapted this from the Minimalist Baker recipe for Chocolate and Sea Salt Granola


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