MIND food regimen reduces the chances of creating dementia
That year, coverage of dementia research was dominated by the controversial approval of the drug Aduhelm in the US, which was found to reduce the amyloid beta plaque that clogs the brain.
However, the drug’s ability to slow cognitive decline has been limited.
Meanwhile, a relatively new diet called the MIND Diet – large on leafy greens, nuts, berries, and olive oil – has been linked to slower cognitive decline and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia in older adults .
The diet was first suggested as a buffer against AD in a groundbreaking 2015 study.
Participants who strictly adhered to the diet reduced their risk of AD by up to 53 percent. These early discoveries sparked a media sensation.
Professor Martha Clare Morris. Photo: Rush University
In general, diet has been found to reduce the likelihood of developing clinically diagnosed mild cognitive impairment or dementia.
A 2019 Australian study of people ages 60 and older found that these rates were reduced by an impressive 19 percent.
Perhaps even more impressive, a new US study suggests that the MIND diet supports cognitive resilience in the elderly – a phenomenon in which some people diagnosed with brain disease do not experience cognitive dysfunction for at least a period of time .
As the authors write, “Identifying modifiable lifestyle factors that operate independently of brain pathologies is critical in AD research in part because pharmacological interventions that focus on brain pathologies reduce cognitive decline, despite some evidence of eliminating Amyloid plaques couldn’t reduce or slow them down from the brain. “
What is the MIND Diet?
The diet was developed by the late Dr. Martha Clare Morris, author of the 2015 study. She was a professor of epidemiology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
The MIND diet is a mix of the popular Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, both of which were developed for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and stroke.
MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay – and was specially developed to strengthen brain health and protect against dementia
It is said to be a simpler diet that focuses on 10 foods to eat more of and five foods to either avoid or consume every now and then.
There are loose recommendations in terms of servings.
The 10 brain foods
Leafy vegetables: Six or more servings a week. These include spinach, cooked vegetables, and salads.
Non-starchy vegetables: At least once a day, add at least one vegetable such as beetroot, carrots or tomatoes in addition to the leafy greens.
Berry: Eat berries at least twice a week for their antioxidant properties. These can be strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries because of their antioxidant properties.
Nuts: Try to have five servings or more of nuts every week. Diet doesn’t dictate what type of nuts, but walnuts and almonds have proven benefits.
Olive oil: Use olive oil not just for cooking, but as a substitute for butter or margarine.
Full grain: At least three servings a day of whole grain products such as oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and 100 percent whole grain bread.
Fish: At least once a week. Oily fish like salmon, sardines, trout, tuna and mackerel are best because of their high content of omega-3 fatty acids.
Beans: Add beans, lentils, soybeans, or chickpeas to at least four meals a week.
Poultry: Chicken or turkey at least twice a week. But no fried chicken. Ground turkey is a good substitute for ground beef or lamb.
Wine: Not more than one glass a day. Both red and white wine can benefit the brain, but the red wine active ingredient resveratrol appears to protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
The foods that you should avoid or reduce
Butter and margarine: Less than a tablespoon a day.
Cheese: Limit cheese consumption to less than once a week. It’s tough, but cheese is just made up of fat and salt.
Red meat: No more than three servings a week.
Fried food: Less than once a week if you can’t avoid it. Fast food restaurants, just say no.
Pastries and sweets: Ice cream, cookies, brownies, cakes, donuts, lollies and so on. Limit this to no more than four times a week. Less is better.
Why Avoid These Foods? Because they are full of trans fats, saturated fats and, in the case of desserts, sugar.