Diet of the MIND

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Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago report that their MIND diet could prevent Alzheimer’s disease. The diet – called the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet uses aspects of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean diet, both of which have been used to lower heart disease and high blood pressure risks. The diet emphasizes green leafy and other vegetables, nuts, berries, legumes, whole grains, fish, lean poultry, olive oil and wine, and seriously limits red meat, butter, stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast foods.

In this study, 923 people between the ages of 58- and 98-years-old were asked to follow the MIND diet for 4.5 years. Dietary information was assessed between 2004 and 2013 and participants were scored on how closely they followed either the MIND diet, the Mediterranean diet, or the DASH diet. Incidence of Alzheimer’s was assessed during follow-up. Results showed that those people who most closely adhered to any of the diets had lower Alzheimer’s risk. People who closely followed the Mediterranean diet were at 54% lower risk, those who followed the MIND diet were at 53% lower risk, and DASH diet followers were at 39% lower risk for Alzheimer’s. However, participants who only moderately followed the Mediterranean or DASH diet had no lower risk, while those who showed moderate adherence to the MIND diet still showed a 35% lower risk of developing the disease.

In a study from NYU School of Medicine, researchers found that diets rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and low-fat dairy, and low in sweets, fried potatoes, high-fat dairy, processed meat, and butter were associated with a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Morris M, Tangney C, Wang Y, et al: MIND diet associated with reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimers & Dementia 2015; February 11th.

Tangney C, Li H, Wang Y, et al: Relation of DASH- and Mediterranean-like dietary patterns of cognitive decline in older persons. Neurology 2014;83:1410-1416.

Berti V, Murray J, Davies M, et al: Nutrient patterns and brain biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease in cognitively normal individuals. Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging 2015;19;:413-423.

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