Dieting alone is not the most effective way to improve your fitness. But by combining healthy, balanced eating habits with a well-rounded exercise routine that includes regular visits to a fitness center, dieting isn’t such a bad thing. Still, with the number of fad diets out there, it’s wise to use caution when choosing which ones to follow and which ones to avoid. To help, we’d like to point you to one doctor-approved diet that’s becoming popular this year: the MIND Diet.

Two Approaches Combined

The MIND Diet is a combination of the familiar heart-healthy Mediterranean diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). The entire acronym, then, stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. That’s a fancy way of announcing itself as a diet that improves brain health and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s up to 53%, based on recent studies.

The MIND Diet combines the best of two approaches to better heart and brain health. Although the focus of the diet is preventing Alzheimer’s, a notable advantage is its tendency to support healthy weight loss.

What the MIND Diet Looks Like

The MIND Diet is a very general diet – more of an eating pattern, really. It encourages consumption of whole foods with an emphasis on the following:

  • Whole grains (about 3 servings a day)
  • Leafy greens (one salad and at least one other vegetable serving a day)
  • Lean meat (poultry at least twice a week)
  • Fish (at least once a week)
  • Berries (at least twice a week)
  • Beans (one half cup every other day)
  • Nuts and seeds (snacks)
  • Wine (a glass a day)
  • Olive oil (for cooking and salad dressings)

At the same time, the MIND Diet encourages eating limited amounts of red meat, butter, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast foods. It’s easy to see how eating these types of foods and avoiding the rest would encourage both health and healthy weight loss!

How to Use the MIND Diet as a Fitness Tool

If you’re interested in following the MIND Diet with weight loss as your primary goal, keep in mind that the diet doesn’t specify clear portions of these foods. With foods like leafy greens, that isn’t too much of a concern, but it’s easy to consume excess calories and even healthy fats in the form of nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Watch your portions and follow suggested serving sizes while monitoring your overall calorie intake for the best weight loss results.

Also bear in mind that combining proteins and carbohydrates for each of your meals is the best approached for stable blood sugar levels, avoiding cravings, having the fuel you need to power your strength and cardio workouts at the fitness center — and ultimately succeed in your fitness goals.