The MIND diet combines the healthy eating principles of the Mediterranean and DASH diets.
It also includes more of certain foods linked to improved brain function and longevity.
Dietitian Kelli McGrane spoke to Insider about common mistakes people make on the MIND diet.
A dietitian who has written a book on the MIND diet spoke to Insider about the most common mistakes people make when starting to follow it.
The MIND diet stands for the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, and combines the principles of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, with added foods for brain health and longevity.
The Mediterranean and DASH diets are both seen as the gold-standard for healthy eating, with the US News and World Report naming the former the healthiest way to eat for six years running, and the American Heart Association putting the latter at the top of its list of heart-healthy diets earlier this year.
According to the Harvard T. Chan School of Public Health, a week on the MIND diet includes at least:
three servings a day of whole grains
six servings of leafy green vegetables a week
one serving a day of vegetables other than leafy green vegetables
five servings of nuts a week
four servings of beans a week
two servings of berries a week
Fish can be eaten at least once a week and poultry twice, but no more than three servings of red meat a week should be eaten. Followers of the diet are also encouraged to cut down on cheese (to a maximum of one serving a week), fried foods, butter and margarine, and sweets and pastries.
Kelli McGrane, registered dietitian and author of "MIND Diet for Beginners," told Insider: "The MIND, Mediterranean, and DASH diets are all similar in that they promote eating mostly whole, minimally processed foods with an emphasis on plant-based foods, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
"The MIND Diet differs in that it recommends specific foods within food groups that have been specifically associated with benefits for brain health. For example, instead of simply encouraging eating more fruits and vegetables, it recommends eating berries and leafy greens."
Insider spoke to McGrane about the mistakes people make when following the MIND diet.
Trying to overhaul your diet overnight
McGrane said that you shouldn't try to completely switch to the MIND diet immediately.
"Instead, pick just a few small changes, let them become habits, then make a few more tweaks.
"For example, the MIND Diet recommends eating six or more servings of leafy green vegetables per day. If you currently don't eat any leafy greens, it's probably not realistic to go from zero to six. Instead, make a goal to add three servings per week and ramp up from there," she said.
Restricting your diet
People often find it difficult to cut down to the single serving of cheese that the MIND diet permits, she said. But instead of depriving yourself of cheese, McGrane said it's more productive to focus on adding to your diet than taking things away.
"Focus on what you should be eating more of, rather than what you should be eating less of," she said.
"You'll get a bigger bang for your buck health-wise if you focus instead on eating more leafy greens or adding a serving of omega-3-rich fish to your weekly menu," she said.
Not allowing yourself room to make mistakes
McGrane said that having rigid rules around food typically leads to people not being able to stick to a diet, and can even set you up for an unhealthy relationship with food.
"I'd recommend people not to get hung up on following any one recommendation perfectly — again, it's more beneficial to eat MORE of the recommended foods than it is to cut back on your cheese consumption — and not to overthink meal-time," she said.
Read the original article on Insider