What you choose to fuel your body with affects more than the number on the scale and how your jeans fit. Everything from your bone density to your memory can be supported by what you put on your plate. Specifically when it comes to brain health, the foods you eat have a major impact, says Dale E. Bredesen, M.D., a neurologist and author of The End of Alzheimer’s Program.
Two diets in particular are backed by science for boosting brain health and reducing your risk of dementia: the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH diet. The Mediterranean Diet focuses on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, seafood, olive oil, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and whole grains, while limiting red meats, processed foods, refined grains and oils, and high-sugar foods. Poultry, eggs, dairy, and red wine can be enjoyed in moderation. Research has found the diet has a slew of health benefits, like improving heart health, aiding in weight management, and supporting brain function.
In comparison, the DASH diet (which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is similar to the Mediterranean diet, but includes slightly different serving suggestions, like capping sodium intake at 1,500 milligrams and allowing for more lean meats. The DASH diet boasts the same benefits as the Mediterranean diet, and was specifically developed to help lower blood pressure without medication.