Healthy Diets

Mediterranean Diet Pyramid
The Mediterranean Diet


A diet introduced to the US in the 1960s based on the traditional foods that people use to eat in the countries (e.g. Italy and Greece) surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. It is a heart healthy diet because it has been shown to prevent heart attacks, stroke, type 2 diabetes mellitus and premature deaths. Although the diet originated in the Mediterranean region many other cultures in the world follow the same principles. For example, in Chinese and Indian cuisine there are also strong emphasis on fresh vegetable, fruit, nuts, legumes, and fish in the diet with avoidance of processed foods. The basic features of a Mediterranean diet are as follows:

  1. Eat more vegetables/fruits, nuts/seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood, and extra virgin olive oil.

  2. Eat moderate amount of poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt.

  3. Eat red meat (e.g. beef, lamb) only rarely.

  4. Avoid eating sugar sweetened beverages/added sugars (e.g. candies, ice cream, soda), processed meat (e.g. sausages, hot dogs); refined grains (e.g. white bread, pasta made with refined wheat); refined oils (e.g. margarine, soybean oil, canola oil, cotton seed oil); and highly processed foods (e.g. “low fat”, “diet” foods in packages)

  5. Drink plenty of water and moderate amount of red wine.

Dash Diet Pyramid


Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet was developed in the 1990ʼs through a research study to identify a food-based strategy to lower blood pressure. It has been shown scientifically that individuals adhering to the DASH diet reduced their systolic blood pressure by 6.7 mm Hg in just 2 weeks. Because of reduced blood pressure the diet is believed to prevent heart attack, and stroke through an anti-inflammatory effect on the blood vessels in the heart and brain. The DASH plan includes the following:


  1. Eating more vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, low-fat and nonfat dairy; whole grains (e.g. brown rice, quinoa); and lean proteins such as chicken, pork, and fish.

  2. Drink plenty of water and limit sugary beverages

  3. Eating less fatty meats, full fat dairy products, sweets

  4. Limit the amount of sodium (salt) intake to less than 2300 mg per day (1 teaspoon)

  5. Avoid processed foods or dining out due to high sodium or salt content

The MIND Diet


The Mediterranean-Dash intervention for neurodegenerative delay (MIND) diet was introduced in 2015 that combined the Mediterranean and the DASH diets to create a dietary pattern that focuses specifically on brain health.  The MIND diet may benefit the brain by reducing potentially harmful beta-Amyloid proteins in the body.  Many scientists believe Beta-Amyloid protein can accumulate and form plaques that build up in the brain to disrupt connections between brain cells that ultimately lead to cell death.  Because the MIND diet is only recently introduced, its benefit is still unknown and research on its effects is still ongoing.  Regardless, many observational studies have demonstrated benefit on the brain.  The key features of the MIND diet are as follows:

  1. Eat green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, kale at least 6 servings per week.

  2. Eat another vegetable in addition to the green leafy vegetables at least once a day.

  3. Eat Berries at least twice per week for their antioxidant benefits.

  4. Eat 5 servings of nuts or more each week.

  5. Olive oil should be the main cooking oil.

  6. Eat whole grains at least 3 servings daily

  7. Eat fish at least once per week.  Aim for fatty fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, or mackerel for high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids.

  8. Eat beans (e.g. lentils, beans, soybean) at least 4 servings per week.

  9. Eat poultry twice a week (Fried chicken is not encouraged).

  10. Drink wine no more than one glass per day.

  11. Avoid Butter and margarine (limit to less than 1 tbsp daily).

  12. Avoid cheese (limit to less than once per week)

  13. Avoid red meat (limit to no more than 3 servings per week)

  14. Avoid fried foods especially in fast food restaurants

  15. Avoid pastries and sweets (Limit to no more than 4 servings per week).

The Ketoflex 12/3 Diet


This diet is built around the principle that it promotes mild ketosis in the body and that may restore proper brain growth, decrease insulin resistance, and reduce inflammation of the brain.  The idea is that one eats within a 12-hour window and stops eating 3 hours before bed.  There is minimal data on the efficacy of this diet, however, it is currently (2019) in an NIH clinical trial to assess its benefit in cognitive restoration.


The Ketoflex diet includes the following:

  • The majority of the diet should be healthy fats.  Examples are

    1. Avocado and avocado oil

    2. Black cumin seed oil

    3. Butter

    4. Canola oil

    5. Caprylic acid

    6. Coconut oil

    7. Fatty cuts of meat

    8. Fish oil and krill oil

    9. Ghee

    10. Olive oil

    11. Palm oil

  • Vegetables allow in the diet include the following but not exclusive:

    1. Artichokes

    2. Beets

    3. Cilantro

    4. Cruciferous vegetables such as arugula, bok choy, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, brussel sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower, daikon, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, makkah, radishes, rapini, rutabaga, turnips, wasabi, or watercress.

    5. Ginger

    6. Jicama

    7. Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and lettuce, etc.

    8. Leeks

    9. Onions

    10. Resistant starches (e.g. sweet potatoes, rutabagas, parsnips, green bananas)

  • Fruits allowed in the diet include but not exclusive

    1. Blueberries

    2. Cherries

    3. Grapefruit

    4. lemons

  • Other plants and Fungi

    1. All herbs (including dandelion and ginger)

    2. Mushrooms

    3. Seaweed

  • Protein (not too high on protein)

    1. Pasture-raised eggs

    2. Pasture-raised meats

    3. Wild-caught fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring.

  • Drinks:

    1. Tea (Oolong, black, and green)

    2. Water (filtered preferably)

  • Desserts:

    1. Cacao

    2. Shredded coconut (unsweetened)