My keto-friendly salmon salad recipe: the MIND diet (Alzheimer’s prevention)

Picture of Dr. Jen Kerns

Dr. Jen Kerns

One of the driving forces underlying my own health transformation is my motivation to avoid (or at least delay) the development of cognitive impairment and dementia. I’ve written about my mom, Tracey, and how painful it has been to watch her slowly descend into a mental abyss where she doesn’t know that I am her daughter, or even that the woman in the mirror is herself. I am at high risk of the same fate, as about half on my mom’s siblings and one of her two parents have developed and/or died from dementia, and my mom hadn’t even turned 60 yet when I noticed her memory issues beginning.

Observational research looking at different dietary patterns and how they affect Alzheimer’s risk has shown that people who eat a diet at the intersection of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet called the MIND diet have a dramatic decrease in cognitive decline over years of aging. One element of the MIND diet is the consumption of fish at least once a week, but I’m not a huge fan of seafood. So one of my favorite ways to get in my healthy omega-3 fatty acids is to make salmon salad — kind of like tuna salad, but using canned salmon instead. Salmon is higher in DHA (the most abundant omega 3 fatty acid in the human brain, which is made of 60% fat!) than tuna, but much of the healthy fats are located in and just underneath the skin of the fish. So “boneless skinless” versions of canned salmon will be much lower in healthy fats than the cans containing skin and bones. The entire contents of the can are edible, but I am pretty grossed out by the prospect of crunching on little tiny vertebrae — so I sift through the fish and remove all of those little bones before mixing in the rest of the ingredients:

By keeping the skin in the mix, I get as much DHA as possible. Although the skin grosses me out when I pull the fish out of the can, too, once it’s all mixed together, I can neither see nor taste it.



Large (14.75 oz) can wild salmon (with skin and bones) – bones picked out if desired

3 slices (1.5 oz) red onion, diced

2 T capers, rinsed

4 T avocado mayonnaise

1 T Dijon mustard


Mix fish, diced onion and capers together. Mix in mayonnaise and mustard. Makes 3 servings.


309 kcal, 22.2 g fat (3.3 g saturated fat), 109.8 mg cholesterol, 824.9 g sodium, 1.7 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 0.6 g sugars, 28 g protein

I like to eat a big scoop of this salmon salad on a bed of baby kale with some high-fiber lupini beans, cherry tomatoes, and extra virgin olive oil vinaigrette. The perfect Mediterranean, low carb, keto friendly, MIND Diet friendly lunch. Enjoy!




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