Supporting Brain Health After Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery With the MIND Diet

Supporting Brain Health After Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery With the MIND Diet - Bariatric Fusion

Guest Blog By: Dr. Lillian Craggs-Dino, DHA, RDN, LDN

Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery is a transformative procedure that targets obesity by surgically inducing weight loss, playing a role in restoring health and quality of life.

However, it is crucial to complement surgery with nutritious food choices, physical activity, and a healthy lifestyle. The brain, our most important organ, is susceptible to aging and damage. It's essential to address conditions like Alzheimer's disease and dementia, which significantly impact quality of life and brain function.

Understanding Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia

Dementia is a general term for mental decline that becomes severe enough to impact daily life tasks. Age-related dementia encompasses a range of symptoms characterized by memory decline and cognitive impairment in older adults.

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative condition that damages the brain's cortex, impairing thinking, planning, and memory. It is the most common cause of dementia. As the disease progresses, there is an increased risk of losing communication skills, failing to recognize loved ones, and becoming unable to care for oneself.

The prevalence of Alzheimer's disease is projected to double to 3.3% by the year 2060, meaning that 13.9 million Americans are estimated to have the condition. (1)

The MIND Diet on Cognitive Function

To reduce the risk of neurodegenerative conditions and cognitive decline, the MIND diet offers promising results for cognitive performance. Developed by Dr. Martha Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist, the MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) has been clinically shown to decrease cognitive decline and lower the risk of Alzheimer's by up to 53 percent, as published in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia. (2)

Lifestyle Factors and the MIND Diet

The MIND diet emphasizes consuming foods rich in vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and organic compounds essential for brain health while avoiding processed and highly saturated fats. This would include foods or supplements containing vitamins C, K, folate, B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, selenium, and iodine. Brain-healthy organic compounds that provide antioxidant benefits include polyphenols, flavonoids, beta-carotene, and other pigments typically found in plants. Adherence to the MIND diet may decrease the incidence of neurological conditions. (2)*

The MIND Diet includes these nine brain-healthy foods:

1. Green leafy vegetables: Aim for at least 6 servings per week
2. Other vegetables: Include a minimum of 1 serving daily
3. Nuts: Consume 5 servings per week
4. Berries: Enjoy 2 or more servings weekly
5. Legumes: Incorporate at least 3 servings each week
6. Whole grains: Consume 3 or more servings weekly
7. Fish: Include fish in your diet at least once a week
8. Poultry: Choose poultry as a protein source twice a week
9. Virgin olive oil: Use olive oil as your primary cooking oil

The MIND Diet recommends limiting your consumption of butter, margarine, red meat, fast foods, sweets, and fried foods. These recommended dietary habits also fit into a bariatric diet.

brain food

Combining the MIND Diet and Bariatric Diet

The foundation of the bariatric diet focuses on protein, fluids, vitamins, and wholesome foods such as fruits, vegetables, complex plant starches, and fiber. By integrating the principles of the MIND diet, you can optimize the benefits for both body and mind.

Here are four practical suggestions for combining these two healthy diets:

1. Protein sources: Opt for lean chicken, turkey, fish, and legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) as your protein sources.
2. Vegetable choices: Prioritize green leafy vegetables and berries due to their nutritional value and the limitations of your small stomach capacity.
3. Cooking oil: Cook with olive oil to enhance nutritional value.
4. Nuts: Treat nuts as a "condiment" or use them as toppings for proteins or salads.

For additional nutrition assistance, follow up with a bariatric dietitian to review body weight, risk factors, dietary patterns, and healthy lifestyle choices.


While aging is inevitable, we have the power to make mindful choices that enhance our health. Combining Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery with the MIND diet can nourish our bodies and minds, reducing the risk of dementia and other neurodegenerative conditions.

Embrace nutritious food, engage in physical activity, foster meaningful relationships, and savor each day as a blessing.


1. Matthews KA et al. Alzheimers Dement. 2019;15(1):17-24.
2. Morris MC et al. Alzheimers Dement. 2015;11(9):1007-1014.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your bariatric surgeon or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition. A qualified healthcare professional can best assist you in deciding whether a dietary supplement is suitable based on your individual needs.

Dr. Lillian Craggs-Dino is a retained consultant for Bariatric Fusion.

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Dr. Lillian Craggs-Dino, DHA, RDN, LDN, CLT, FASMBS-IH

Dr. Lillian Craggs-Dino is a nationally and internationally known Registered and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist with more than 20 years professional experience in bariatric nutrition. She holds a Doctorate Degree in Health Administration from the University of Phoenix and a Master of Science degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from Florida International University. She is the Advanced Practitioner Level II Bariatric Dietitian and Support Group Coordinator for Cleveland Clinic Florida where she has had much success assisting patients with their nutritional and weight loss goals.

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