7 Day Mediterranean Dash Diet (Printable, PDF)

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Losing weight is the main objective of most diets, but not everyone is looking for a diet to help them lose weight. Some diets can achieve different results.

For instance, if you want to improve overall brain health and prevent or slow down symptoms of Alzheimer’s, you should consider the Mediterranean Dash diet

Alzheimer’s disease is an overwhelming and progressive neurodegenerative condition that causes confusion and memory loss. 

According to the ALZ (Alzheimer’s Association), this disease affects over 5 million people in the US alone, and its most common form is dementia.

In fact, this disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the US, with roughly one in three senior adults succumbing due to it. 

There is no evidence to back the Mediterranean Dash diet reversing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Still, there is a lot of evidence backing up the fact that this diet can help reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. 

What is The Mediterranean Dash Diet?

The Mediterranean Dash diet is based on two diets, Mediterranean and Dash.

The Mediterranean Dash diet comprises foods that can help boost brain health and reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. 

In 2015, dietary epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris and her team at Rush University came up with a list of foods that can boost overall brain health and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s.

All the foods recommended for this diet are rich in compounds proven to nourish and protect the brain.

The Mediterranean Dash diet is different from the two diets it draws inspiration from, Mediterranean and Dash, because of its focus on improving cognitive function.

The Mediterranean Dash diet doesn’t emphasize consuming fruits and seafood as much as the other two, with the exception of berries and salmon.

Also, it includes wine (either white or red) because moderate consumption can boost cognitive function. 

Foods You Can Eat on The Mediterranean Dash Diet

Beans

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Apart from being rich in protein, beans are also rich in vitamin B, which boosts brain health.

You can have all kinds of beans such as black beans, cannellini beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, lentils, soybeans, white beans, etc. 

Berries

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Berries such as acai berries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are rich in antioxidants and good phytochemicals, which help improve brain health and overall wellbeing.

Berries contain antioxidants known as flavonoids, solidifying the links between neurons, and making it more straightforward for them to interact.

The Mediterranean Dash diet recommends consuming at least two portions of berries per week. 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Extra virgin olive oil is a vital part of the Mediterranean Dash diet, and its benefits reach the brain.

Olive oil is rich in a compound known as oleocanthal which helps calm the inflammatory enzymes such as COX-1. 

Other studies have claimed that senior adults who often consume extra virgin olive oil have the most promising aging index scores. 

Fatty Fish

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Fatty fish like herring, salmon, and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation and help build the brain’s solid matter. 

Leafy Greens

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Mediterranean Dash Diet

It might not come as a surprise to you that nutrient-rich leafy greens such as arugula, chard, collard greens, baby spinach, and kale have numerous health benefits.

In fact, leafy greens are a must-have when it comes to cognitive function.

Leafy greens contain antioxidants such as beta carotene, and they are also rich in micronutrients such as vitamin K, which helps in the production of brain cells. 

Nuts

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Nuts such as almonds, cashews, hazel nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts are perfect as a fiber-rich snack to help combat hunger in between meals.

These nuts also have several health benefits too. 

Almonds, for instance, are packed with vitamin E, a micronutrient that eliminates radicals adjacent to brain cells, while walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. 

Poultry

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Poultry (chicken and turkey) is rich in choline, a B vitamin that’s vital for brain development and, according to one study, can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.

Veggies

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Mediterranean Dash Diet

The DGA (dietary guideline for Americans) recommends taking at least two cups of veggies per day. The Mediterranean diet also considers veggies very important.

Why? Because veggies are rich in vitamins and nutrients such as folate.

A 2021 study revealed that older women who showed signs of Alzheimer’s disease and high folate levels had fewer symptoms of dementia. 

Another study found that consumption of five or more servings of veggies per day helped reduce the risk of dementia by boosting heart health and reducing inflammation which helps improve the vascularity of the brain. 

The Mediterranean Dash diet recommends eating nutrient-rich veggies like Asparagus, aubergine, baby carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, okra, etc. 

Whole Grains

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Whole grains are the foundation of any healthy diet.

In the Mediterranean Dash diet, whole grains such as brown rice, bulgur, farro, rye, teff, and wild rice are recommended because they’re packed with minerals and vitamins that boost brain health.

Whole grains are also packed with fiber which helps with blood sugar regulation and digestion. The Mediterranean diet recommends at least two servings of whole grains per day.

Apart from boosting cognitive function, whole grains can also promote weight loss and reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Not only that, whole grains come in various forms, which makes them some of the most versatile foods. 

Wine

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Mediterranean Dash Diet

When taken in moderation, some studies back up the fact that either red or white wine can help boost brain health. 

In fact, one Norwegian study comprising over 5,000 men and women found that regular as well as light to moderate consumption of wine was linked to better performance on cognitive tests.

However, the same can’t be said of people who consume beers or spirits. 

Foods to Avoid on The Mediterranean Dash Diet

Cheese

The Mediterranean Dash diet recommends cutting cheese intake.

Deep-fried foods

The Mediterranean Dash diet discourages the consumption of deep-fried foods such as chips, fried onion rings, fries, etc. 

Meat

The Mediterranean Dash diet recommends no more than three servings of meat per week. This includes beef, lamb, mutton, and pork, as well as their by-products. 

Processed Fat

If you’re on the Mediterranean Dash diet, ensure you consume less than one tablespoon of processed fat. Instead, you can prepare meals with extra virgin olive oil. 

Sugary Foods

The Mediterranean Dash diet also discourages the consumption of sugary foods such as brownies, candy, cookies, ice cream, etc. 

Studies recommend limiting your intake of these foods because they contain trans fats linked to various kinds of illnesses, including dementia and heart disease. 

Sample Mediterranean Dash Diet 7-Day Meal Plan

Day 1

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Breakfast: Banana and strawberry smoothie

Snack: Five olives and one clementine

Lunch: Kale Caesar salad

Dinner: Ground turkey chili

Day 2

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Breakfast: Veggie frittata and whole-wheat toast

Snack: Hummus with crudités (Bell peppers, carrots, celery, cucumber, etc.)

Lunch: Whole wheat tuna sandwich 

Dinner: Roasted chicken and broccoli

Day 3

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Breakfast: Almond and blueberry pancakes

Snack: One large apple

Lunch: Whole wheat chicken sandwich with celery and baba ghanoush

Dinner: Roast turkey with cabbage salad

Day 4 

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Breakfast: Unsweetened Greek yogurt topped with blackberries

Snack: Five olives and one clementine

Lunch: Brown rice and kale and spinach salad

Dinner: Baked chicken, roasted broccoli, and whole-wheat spaghetti

Day 5

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Breakfast: Whole wheat toast topped with avocado slices and scrambled eggs

Snack: Hummus with crudités (Bell peppers, carrots, celery, cucumber, etc.)

Lunch: Spinach salad, olive oil dressing, and one whole grain roll

Dinner: Half a cup of brown rice, grilled salmon, and steamed spinach

Day 6

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Breakfast: One scrambled egg and a whole-wheat bagel sandwich

Snack: One large apple

Lunch: Whole wheat turkey sandwich, baby carrots, and hummus

Dinner: Beans and quinoa stir-fried in olive oil

Day 7

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Breakfast: Oatmeal topped with almonds and blackberries

Snack: Hummus with crudités (Bell peppers, carrots, celery, cucumber, etc.)

Lunch: Roasted chicken, kale salad, and half a pita bread

Dinner: Baked salmon and Brussels sprouts roasted in olive oil

Benefits of the Mediterranean Dash Diet

Brain Health 

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Mediterranean Dash Diet

The Mediterranean Dash Diet is linked to better cognitive performance, and some studies claim it prevents brain decline, including the development of Alzheimer’s.

Another study found that senior adults who consume berries may delay their brain degeneration by up to two years.

Since the Mediterranean Dash diet is low in cholesterol and trans-fats, it’s also been linked to a lower risk of dementia which studies show is linked to blood to brain barrier.

Overall, the Mediterranean Dash diet is effective and helps reduce amyloid plaque production, which has been touted to be behind Alzheimer’s. 

Consuming extra virgin olive oil has also been linked to alleviating autoimmune conditions such as ALS, IBS, MLS, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Polyphenols present in extra virgin olive oil and wine stop inflammation in human cells. 

Cardiovascular Disease Prevention

Mediterranean Dash Diet

Mediterranean Dash Diet

The Mediterranean Dash diet recommends eating plant-based foods rich in complex carbs, fiber, healthy oils, minerals, phytochemicals, and vitamins. 

The foods in the Mediterranean Dash diet can reduce the symptoms of cardiovascular disease deaths from cardiovascular disease as well as HDL and total cholesterol.

Extra-virgin olive oil, the leading oil in the Mediterranean Dash diet, can help prevent heart disease, heart failure, irregular heart palpitations, and plaque formation in the arteries. 

On the other hand, antioxidants in berries can boost overall heart health and lower blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. 

Increased Lifespan

In a decade-long study comprising close to 900 senior adults, studies have found that the Mediterranean Dash diet can reduce the death rate.

People who strictly follow the Mediterranean Dash diet live longer than those who follow it partially. 

Inflammation Reduction

Chronic inflammation can cause or worsen the symptoms of several conditions such as Alzheimer’s, autoimmune and heart diseases.

Following the Mediterranean Dash diet and limiting sugar and trans fats consumption can reduce inflammation in most instances. 

Perhaps the best anti-inflammatory food in the Mediterranean Dash diet is extra-virgin olive oil, and the research to back up this claim is widespread. 

For instance, extra-virgin olive oil can reduce inflammation in adults aged 50 and above, and it has a more intense effect on those at risk of contracting heart disease. 

Weight Loss

The Mediterranean dash diet is designed to boost cognitive function, but the focus on plant-based foods and reduction of fried foods and sugary foods can promote weight loss. 

According to several studies, plant-based foods like beans and whole grains can promote weight loss and limit obesity better than high-protein and low-fat diets. 

Drawbacks of the Mediterranean Dash Diet

High Levels of Mercury in Fish

The Mediterranean diet highlights the importance of consuming fatty fish such as salmon and tuna at least once a week because they’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids. 

However, fatty fish like Bluefin tuna contain high mercury levels, a contaminant affecting cognitive function and the nervous system. 

Food Allergies

The Mediterranean diet comprises food such as beans, vegetables, and whole grains, which can be problematic for some people.

People who follow the Mediterranean Dash diet but have autoimmune conditions, chronic food sensitivity, and food allergies might have to adjust their diet to align with their allergies.

If you’re one of them, consult your physician on the best course of action. 

Should You Follow the Mediterranean Dash Diet?

Yes, you should follow the Mediterranean Dash diet. Whether your bloodline has a history of Alzheimer’s and other cognitive issues, this is a good diet because it has proven to be very effective in promoting brain health. 

While more research needs to be done to establish the overall benefits of the Mediterranean Dash diet, the data available right now shows promising results. 

It’s a relatively easy-to-follow diet with readily available foods. The Mediterranean Dash diet comprises mainly healthy foods, so there is no need to track your daily calorie intake. 

However, like all other diets, prior to starting the Mediterranean Dash diet, consult your physician and see if they recommend it.

If you want to start but are unsure of how to go about it, consult a dietitian to help create a meal plan suited to your needs. 

Final Thought

To sum it all up, the Mediterranean Dash diet is a diet whose primary focus is brain health to combat diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

However, the focus on healthy foods such as fruits, veggies, and healthy fats is something that everyone should be doing.

Printable Mediterranean Dash Diet (PDF)

Mediterranean Dash Diet
Day 1
Breakfast: Banana and strawberry smoothie
Snack: Five olives and one clementine
Lunch: Kale Caesar salad
Dinner: Ground turkey chili
Day 2
Breakfast: Veggie frittata and whole-wheat toast
Snack: Hummus with crudités (Bell peppers, carrots, celery, cucumber, etc.)
Lunch: Whole wheat tuna sandwich 
Dinner: Roasted Chicken and Broccoli
Day 3
Breakfast: Almond and Blueberry pancakes
Snack: One large apple
Lunch: Whole wheat chicken sandwich with celery and baba ghanoush
Dinner: Roast turkey with cabbage salad
Day 4 
Breakfast: Unsweetened Greek yogurt topped with blackberries
Snack: Five olives and one clementine
Lunch: Brown rice and kale and spinach salad
Dinner: Baked chicken, roasted broccoli, and whole-wheat spaghetti
Day 5
Breakfast: Whole wheat toast topped with avocado slices and scrambled eggs
Snack: Hummus with crudités (Bell peppers, carrots, celery, cucumber, etc.)
Lunch: Spinach salad, olive oil dressing, and one whole grain roll
Dinner: Half a cup of brown rice, grilled salmon, and steamed spinach
Day 6
Breakfast: One scrambled egg and a whole-wheat bagel sandwich
Snack: One large apple
Lunch: Whole wheat turkey sandwich, baby carrots, and hummus
Dinner: Beans and quinoa stir-fried in olive oil
Day 7
Breakfast: Oatmeal topped with almonds and blackberries
Snack: Hummus with crudités (Bell peppers, carrots, celery, cucumber, etc.)
Lunch: Roasted chicken, kale salad, and half a pita bread
Dinner: Baked salmon and Brussels sprouts roasted in olive oil

See Also

DASH Diet for Hypertension

DASH Diet Recipes Phase 1

DASH Diet Food List

Grapefruit Diet Plan

2500 Calorie DASH Diet Plan

Anti Inflammatory Mediterranean Diet Plan

Vegetarian Mediterranean Diet

Dr Sebi Food List

Basal Metabolic Rate Calculator