Healthy Living Blog

MIND Your Diet

Tina Miller, MS RDN, Meijer Healthy Living Advisor,

If you’re looking for healthy approach to eating that uses real food and can be simple to follow, then the MIND diet just might be your answer!  As the name suggests, the MIND diet is beneficial for brain health and can also improve overall health including:

  • Brain health, memory, cognition (in seniors, adults and children)
  • Mood, depression
  • Energy, weight
  • Heart disease, hypertension
  • Metabolism, blood sugars, diabetes

The MIND diet is an eating approach the combines Mediterranean Diet and DASH Diet principles into a plan that nourishes brain health, reduces risk for chronic disease and promotes healthy body weight.  But just what is the MIND diet?   The “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay” (MIND) diet was developed by nutritional epidemiologist Martha Morris, PhD and her team at Rush University Medical Center as an approach to help reduce risk for Alzheimer’s Disease The study shows that the MIND diet lowered the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease by as much as 53% in participants who strictly adhered to the diet, and by almost 35% in participants who “mostly” followed the diet.
MIND diet recommendations are based on outcomes from years of research on how foods impact brain function and neurodegenerative delay.  A combination of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) provide the best protection against Alzheimer’s Disease and other neurological issues.  The MIND diet includes 10 “brain-healthy” food groups and five food groups to limit.

Ten Healthy Food Groups to Emphasize:

  • Green leafy vegetables (vitamin rich including B vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and low calorie)
  • Other Vegetables
  • Nuts, seeds (healthy fats, minerals and antioxidants)
  • Berries (Blueberries and strawberries are emphasized; excellent sources of brain nutrients)
  • Beans, lentils (Fiber promoting gut-brain health, vitamins and protein)
  • Whole grains (replacing refined grains which can have negative effects on brain health)
  • Fish (DHA, omega -3 healthy fats), poultry (less saturated fat, high lean protein)
  • Olive oil (healthy oil that promotes vascular health)
  • Wine (up to 5 ounces / day – more than 1 drink per day can have negative effects)

Five food groups to eat less of:

  • Sweets, pastries (refined flours, white sugar associated with reduced brain health including depression)
  • Deep fried food, restaurant fast food (oxidative chemicals that compromise brain health)
  • Processed cheese (choose reduced fat cheese)
  • Stick Margarine and butter (Balance fats, too much saturated fat decrease neurological function)
  • Red meats (moderate intake, choose lean cuts to reduce saturated fat)

Make it Easy

It’s not necessary to follow “strict” guidelines.  You can easily incorporate MIND diet principles into your daily routine by enjoying a dark green leafy salad every day, selecting whole grains (whole wheat, oat, or brown rice) instead of white grains and add a couple tablespoons of nuts to your snack or oatmeal most days of the week.  Berries, especially blueberries, are super-brain foods so include these at meals or snacks 3 or more days each week. Use fresh, frozen or dried berries (without added sugars) to naturally sweeten foods. Canned or dried beans are an excellent source of fiber and protein and can be used to top off salads or added to soups, chili or casseroles.

Researchers advise to start incorporating MIND diet principles into your daily diet sooner than later.  The longer a person eats a diet that follows the MIND food guidelines, the less risk that person will have of developing Alzheimer’s Disease later in life.


Mindful Recipes

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

Serves 6


1 Tablespoon True Goodness by Meijer Organic extra-virgin olive oil

1 large (2 small) sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 large onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons True Goodness by Meijer Organic chili powder

4 teaspoons True Goodness by Meijer Organic ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground Ancho or chipotle chile

¼ teaspoon salt

2½ cups water

2 15-ounce cans True Goodness by Meijer Organic black beans, rinsed

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

4 teaspoons lime juice

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato and onion and cook, stirring often, until the onion is beginning to soften, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, chipotle and salt and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add water and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the sweet potato is tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Add beans, tomatoes and lime juice; increase heat to high and return to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months

Nutrition information (per 2 cup serving): 314 calories 6 g fat (1 g sat); 16 g fiber; 52 g carbohydrates; 13 g protein; 0 mg cholesterol; 13 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 573 mg sodium

Recipe adapted from: Eating Well Test Kitchen,

PB & J Overnight Oats with Berries

Makes 2 servings


1/2 cup True Goodness by Meijer Old Fashioned Oats

1 cup True Goodness by Meijer low fat milk (or soy milk)

1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds

1 Tablespoon True Goodness by Meijer Strawberry Jam

1/4 cup True Goodness by Meijer Peanut Butter

1/2 cup True Goodness by Meijer Organic Frozen Mixed Berries


  1. Mix all ingredients except peanut butt and berries in a Mason jar or bowl until well combined.
  2. Swirl in peanut butter
  3. Top with frozen berries
  4. Let stand in refrigerator overnight and enjoy cold (or warmed in microwave – remove metal lid)