A new diet, known by the acronym MIND, has been found to significantly reduce a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD). More than 5 million people in the US are living with Alzheimer’s, and this number is expected to rise to as many as 16 million by 2050.
The MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets, both of which have been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions, including hypertension, heart attack and stroke.
According to the study findings, the MIND diet was able to lower the risk of AD by as much as 53% in participants who strictly adhered to the diet, and by about 35% in those who followed it fairly well.
The diet is based on information accrued from years’ worth of past research about which foods and nutrients have positive and negative effects on the functioning of the brain over time. This is the first study to relate the MIND diet to Alzheimer’s disease.
For the study, MIND diet was compared with the two other diets. People with high adherence to the DASH and Mediterranean diets also had reductions in AD — 39% with the DASH diet and 54% with the Mediterranean diet.
The MIND diet labels 15 dietary components: 10 “brain-healthy food groups” & 5 “unhealthy food groups”:
Brain-Healthy Food Group:
1- Green leafy vegetables
2- Other vegetables,
6- Whole grains
9- Olive oil, and wine
Five unhealthy groups such as:
1- Red meats
2- Butter, Stick margarine & pastries
5- Fried or fast food.
Berries are the only fruit included in the MIND diet. “Blueberries are one of the more potent foods in terms of protecting the brain,” and strawberries have also performed well in past studies of the effect of food on cognitive function.
The findings also suggest that the longer a person adheres to the MIND diet, the less risk a person will have of developing AD.
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