For the third consecutive year, a diet created, studied and reported on by researchers at Rush University Medical Center has been ranked among the top five diets in multiple categories by U.S. News & World Report. The MIND diet was ranked fifth for easiest diet to follow and tied for fifth for best overall, best for healthy eating and best heart-healthy diets.
In all, the MIND diet was ranked in nine categories for 2018, as follows:
- Easiest Diets to Follow: No. 5
- Best Diets Overall: No. 5 (tie)
- Best Diets for Healthy Eating: No. 5 (tie)
- Best Heart-Healthy Diets: No. 5 (tie)
- Best Diets for Diabetes: No. 8 (tie)
- Best Weight-Loss Diets: No. 23 (tie)
- Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets: No. 34 (tie)
Now in its eighth year, the annual “Best Diets” list provides facts about 35 chosen eating plans and ranks them on a range of levels, from their heart healthiness to their likelihood to help with weight loss. To create the annual rankings, U.S. News editors and reporters spend months winnowing potential additions to the diet roster and then mine medical journals, government reports and other resources to create in-depth profiles. Each profile explains how the diet works, whether or not its claims are substantiated, scrutinizes it for possible health risks and examines what it’s like to live on the diet, not just read about it.
Diet’s impact on health
The MIND diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. Both have been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, heart attack and stroke.
Martha Clare Morris, ScD, a Rush nutritional epidemiologist, and her colleagues developed the MIND diet based on information that has accrued from years of research about what foods and nutrients have good, and bad, effects on the functioning of the brain.
“The MIND diet highlights the foods and nutrients shown through the scientific literature to be associated with dementia prevention,” Morris said. “There is still a great deal of study we need to do in this area, and I expect that we’ll make further modifications as the science on diet and the brain advances.”
A wine and no cheese party
The MIND diet has 15 dietary components, including 10 “brain-healthy food groups” and five unhealthy groups — red meat, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.
To adhere to and benefit from the MIND diet, a person would need to eat at least three servings of whole grains, a green leafy vegetable and one other vegetable every day — along with a glass of wine — snack most days on nuts, have beans every other day or so, eat poultry and berries at least twice a week and fish at least once a week. A person also must limit intake of the designated unhealthy foods, limiting butter to less than 1 1/2 teaspoons a day and eating less than a serving a week of sweets and pastries, whole fat cheese, and fried or fast food.