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MIND Diet Could Reduce Risk of Alzheimer's

Alissa Sauer
By Alissa SauerFebruary 5, 2018

study from Rush University in Chicago has found that the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) Diet may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 50% and still has protective powers, even when not followed rigorously.

Learn more about the development of the diet and which foods are helpful in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

Developing the MIND Diet

Researchers from Rush University in Chicago have combined elements from both the Mediterranean Diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diets to create the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) Diet.

A Mediterranean diet is high in healthy fats, omega 3’s and whole grains, and has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. The DASH diet focuses on fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy, and has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack, hypertension and stroke.

Researchers evaluated over 900 seniors who were participating in the Rush Memory and Aging Project (MAP) project that studies the aging process. Researchers evaluated the nutritional information of seniors that were already following basic MIND diet principles as well as those who ate a Mediterranean diet and a DASH diet. Researchers then noted the incidences of Alzheimer’s of those seniors over a 5 year period. They found that those seniors who followed the MIND diet reduced their risk of developing Alzheimer’s by as much as 53% and when it was not followed rigorously it still reduced the disease by as much as 35%.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Martha Morris, was surprised to see that those who did not follow the diet strictly still had considerable protection from Alzheimer’s.

“It was surprising that even those individuals who had moderate adherence to the MIND diet had reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This was not the case for either the DASH or Mediterranean diets for which only the highest adherence conferred protective benefits.”

The strength of the diet may be because the diet was specifically designed according to the latest research on how nutrition affects the brain. Researchers believe that people who follow the diet for years will get the best protection from Alzheimer’s.

Elements of the MIND Diet

The MIND diet is comprised of 15 elements, 10 brain-healthy food groups and then five unhealthy groups. The 10 brain-healthy food groups include:

  • Beans
  • Berries
  • Fish
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Poultry
  • Olive oil
  • Other vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Wine

The five unhealthy food groups include:

  • Butter and stick margarine
  • Cheese
  • Fast or fried foods
  • Pastries and sweets
  • Red meats

Do you follow the MIND diet principles or will you now that you know following it, even moderately, can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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Alissa Sauer

Alissa Sauer

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