15503 Vance Jackson
San Antonio, Texas, 78249



Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease With Brain-Healthy Foods

The aim: Preventing Alzheimer’s disease with brain-healthy foods.

The claim: You may lower your risk of mental decline with this new hybrid of two balanced,heart-healthy diets – even without rigidly sticking to it – early research suggests.

The theory: The MIND diet takes two proven diets ­­– DASH and Mediterranean – and zeroes in on the foods in each that specifically affect brain health.

The emphasis is on eating from 10 brain-healthy food groups: green leafy vegetables in particular, all other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine. Meanwhile, MIND adherents avoid foods from the five unhealthy groups: red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheeses, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.

The MIND diet, which stands for “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay,” was developed by Martha Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center, through a study funded by the National Institute on Aging and published online February 2015. Morris’ team followed the food intake of 923 Chicago-area seniors. Over 4.5 years, 144 participants developed Alzheimer’s disease. The longer people had followed the MIND diet patterns, the less risk they appeared to have. Even people who made “modest” changes to their diets – who wouldn’t have fit the criteria for DASH or Mediterranean – had less risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The study found the MIND diet lowered Alzheimer’s risk by about 35 percent for people who followed it moderately well and up to 53 percent for those who adhered to it rigorously.

Two previous, large U.S. studies have found significant slower cognitive decline in people who ate at least two servings of vegetables per day, with the strongest effect seen with at least six weekly servings of leafy green vegetables. Several animal studies show that eating a variety of berries is tied to better memory performance. And population studies suggest eating a single fish meal a week is related to Alzheimer’s prevention.

Morris emphasizes that findings on the diet are not definitive, with more long-term, randomized comparison studies needed. Her team’s second paper on the MIND diet has found the MIND diet superior to the DASH and Mediterranean diets in preventing cognitive decline. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *