A Diet For Your MIND

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

Not eating seven fruits or veggies a day on a regular basis? Here's another really good reason to rethink that strategy, according to recent research.

This particular study emphasized that the intake of fruits and vegetables was clearly linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

The results were published in the journal, Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association.

The MIND Diet Linked to a 53% Decreased Risk of Alzheimer’s

For the study, a group of researchers developed a diet that combined the benefits of the DASH diet, an eating plan shown to lower blood pressure, and the Mediterranean diet. The foods were selected based on the evidence showing their link to a healthy cardiovascular and neurological system.

One unique component of this diet, also referred to as the MIND diet, was the focus on berries and leafy greens.

The following ten foods are encouraged in the MIND diet:

  • leafy greens
  • vegetables
  • berries
  • nuts
  • beans
  • whole grains
  • wine
  • poultry
  • olive oil
  • fish
While these foods are meant to be eaten sparingly:

  • pastries/sweets
  • butter and margarine
  • cheese
  • red meat
  • fried/fast food
Participants between the ages of 58 to 98 were surveyed to compare the similarity of their diets to the MIND diet and were followed up after several years. Neurological tests were administered to evaluate cognitive function.

According to the results of the study, those most closely following the MIND diet were 53% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s’ disease.1

Benefits were also seen for diets that resembled the DASH diet, with a decreased Alzheimer’s rate of 39% and diets similar to the Mediterranean with a 54% decreased risk.

In addition, those who moderately followed the MIND diet saw a 35% lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The same did not hold true for the DASH or Mediterranean diets.

While the results of this study are remarkable, more research needs to be conducted to confirm the benefits of the MIND diet. Nevertheless, this study confirms the results of previous research, emphasizing the brain benefits of leafy greens, wine, olive oil, fish, nuts, and berries.

The Bottom Line

While your diet doesn’t have to exactly match the MIND diet, one thing is for sure: eating a plant-based diet is the key to unlocking a range of health benefits.

That, along with exercise and healthy habits, will help to increase your odds of maintaining your health and your mind, into old age.

References:

1. Alzheimers Dement. 2015 Feb 11. pii: S1552-5260(15)00017-5.

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