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In a world dominated by celebrity fad diets that range from absurd, like Reese Witherspoon’s alleged “baby-food diet,” to absurdly unaffordable, such as the $200 “moon dust“-infused smoothie that Gwyneth Paltrow drinks, many people don’t believe there’s a single best diet for your health.

But a growing body of evidence suggests that a plant-based diet — which focuses on vegetables while incorporating whole grains and lean proteins — reigns supreme. It’s been found to be ideal for losing weight, staying lean, and keeping the mind sharp.

Plant-based diets are “good for the environment, your heart, your weight, and your overall health,” according to US News and World Report’s most recent report on the best eating plans.

Such diets come in many forms, but recent research — including a new preliminary study presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference — suggests that the best plans for protecting the brain from age-related cognitive decline are the Mediterranean diet and the MIND diet, a version of the Mediterranean plan that focuses on “brain-healthy” foods.

avocado smoked salmon blueberries healthy food meal bowl tomatoes lunchThe Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, olive oil, and fish; it’s low in red meat, processed foods, poultry, and dairy. The MIND diet emphasizes green leafy vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, seafood, poultry, olive oil, and wine. Those following this regimen limit or eliminate red meat, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries, sweets, and fried foods.

Mediterranean and MIND for the mind

The lastest preliminary study suggests that in people who’ve survived a stroke, the MIND diet may help slow cognitive decline that can follow the episode. Stroke survivors are twice as likely to develop dementia compared with the general population.

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