The new MIND Diet developed by Rush University Medical Center researchers appears to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease by 53 percent in those that followed the diet rigorously, and by 35 percent in those who followed it moderately.
The diet took over 2 years to develop and was then tested in a Chicago-area study of adults between the ages of 58 and 98. The MIND Diet combines certain aspects of both the Mediterranean and DASH Diets while including foods that have proven positive effects on the brain, such as berries. Although the study, published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, only shows an association between a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and the MIND Diet it is nevertheless another step in demonstrating a connection between diet and brain health.
The MIND Diet focuses on 15 dietary elements: 10 “brain-healthy food groups – green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine – and five unhealthy groups – red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.
The MIND Diet includes a salad, one other vegetable, at least three servings of whole grains, and a glass of wine daily. It also states that nuts should be included as snacks most days, beans eaten every other day or so, poultry and berries at least twice per week and fish at least once. Olive oil should serve as the main cooking oil.
The unhealthy foods should be limited to less than 1 tablespoon per day of butter and less than 1 serving per week of cheese and fried or fast foods.
While both the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet have been shown to lower Alzheimer’s risk alone, the study found that both diets must be followed strictly to see any reduced risk – 54 percent and 39 percent lowered risk respectively. The MIND Diet is a much easier diet for most people to follow than either the Mediterranean or the DASH diets and the benefits are seen with only moderate adherence – 35 percent.
Alzheimer’s Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and is the only cause of death in the top 10 that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed. Today there are 5.1 million Americans of 65 years and older living with Alzheimer’s but the numbers are estimated to reach 7.1 million in 2025 and 13.8 million by 2025 according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
To learn more about the MIND Diet visit the Rush University Center website.