A new diet, known as MIND, could significantly lower a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. The 'Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay' (MIND) diet has been developed by Rush nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris, PhD, and colleagues. It has been found to lower Alzheimer's disease risk by 53% in people who adhered to the diet rigorously, and by about 35% in those who followed it moderately well, revealed a paper published in the journal, Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association.
The MIND diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. Both these diet plans have previously been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions, like hypertension, heart attack and stroke. Some researchers have also found evidence that the two older diets provide protection against dementia.
The MIND diet has 15 dietary components, including 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 that comprise red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food. With the MIND diet, a person eats at least three servings of whole grains, a salad and one other vegetable every day, along with a glass of wine; snacks most days on nuts, has beans every other day or so, eats poultry and berries at least twice a week and fish at least once a week. However, the intake of unhealthy foods has to be limited, especially butter (less than 1 tablespoon a day), cheese, and fried or fast food (less than a serving a week for any of the three).
In the latest study, the MIND diet was compared with the Mediterranean and DASH diet. People with high adherence to the DASH and Mediterranean diets also had reductions in Alzheimer's disease, 39% with the DASH diet and 54% with the Mediterranean diet, but got negligible benefits from moderate adherence to either of the two other diets. The researchers also revealed that unlike the Mediterranean diet which calls for daily consumption of fish and 3-4 daily servings of each of fruits and vegetables, the MIND diet was easier to follow.