Can a diet help prevent Alzheimer’s disease? A recent study suggests that a particular diet, called the MIND diet, may actually lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center have studied the MIND diet to see the effects it may have in preventing age-related cognitive decline. The MIND diet was developed specifically to combat the effects of neurodegenerative diseases.
Martha Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist, and her colleagues at Rush University created the diet based on research into food and nutrition. MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.
The diet is a combination of two different diets: Mediterranean diets, which contain little meat and a lot of healthy fats, and DASH diets, which contain mostly vegetables and fruits. Mediterranean diets have been linked to longevity and lowered risk of dementia, while the DASH diet is designed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
The MIND diet has been voted as one of the easiest diets to follow. Now, research is suggesting that it can also have a big effect in preventing the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
One study followed over 900 individuals between the ages of 58 and 98, seeing the effect that their diets had on their cognitive health. The individuals were followed for an average of four and a half years. During this time, their diet was assessed and they received frequent cognitive testing.
The study found that the people whose diets aligned with the MIND diet had a 53 percent reduction in their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Out of all diets, the MIND diet was found to have the biggest benefit for reducing Alzheimer’s risk.
The MIND diet places an emphasis on eating leafy greens and other vegetables, whole grains, nuts, berries, beans, chicken, fish, and wine. Red meat, fast food, cheese, butter, and sweets are all limited to small amounts.
The researchers are hoping that the MIND diet will be explored in other studies, to confirm the results and prove its effectiveness for different populations.
DiFiore, N., “MIND Diet Repeatedly Ranked Among Best,” Rush University Medical Center, January 05, 2016, https://www.rush.edu/news/mind-diet-ranked-among-best.
Thalheimer, J. C., “The MIND Diet – Fighting Dementia With Food,” Today’s Geriatric Medicine, July/August 2015, http://www.todaysgeriatricmedicine.com/archive/0715p10.shtml.