The MIND diet was developed by Mary Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University. A blend of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, it focuses on foods that have been shown scientifically to improve brain health.

Morris found that older people who already choose to eat this way - adhering to DASH, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and MIND, or Mediterranean-DASH diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay - are less likely to get Alzheimer's and perform better on cognitive tests than typical Americans. She will soon test whether switching to this diet is helpful.

The diet includes 10 healthy categories:

  • Whole grains. Eat three servings a day.
  • Green leafy vegetables. One serving a day.
  • Any other vegetable. One serving a day.
  • Wine. One glass a day.
  • Nuts. Eat them as a snack most days.
  • Berries. Eat at least twice a week.
  • Beans. Eat about every other day.
  • Fish. Eat at least once a week.
  • Poultry. Eat twice a week.
  • Olive oil. Use as primary oil.

There are also five unhealthy categories you should limit or avoid:

  • Red meats. No more than three servings per week.
  • Butter and stick margarine. Eat less than one tablespoon a day.
  • Cheese. Less than a serving a week.
  • Pastries and sweets. Less than a serving a week.
  • Fried or fast food. Less than a serving a week.

Morris says other items she doesn't list also are good for you, such as calcium-rich yogurt. They just aren't listed here because they haven't been shown to help your brain.