New diet appears to lower Alzheimer’s risk
A new diet called MIND–the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay–may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
The diet is a combination of three things: A Mediterranean diet , the medically=-formulated DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, and an eating plan developed by the National Institutes of Health. Researchers say the diet plan is very simple, consisting of only 10 healthy food groups and five unhealthy ones. They suggest that the simpler diet rules may be easier to stick with, compared to the Mediterranean and DASH diet. The researchers published their results in Science Translational Medicine.
To study the diet’s effects, the team used 923 Chicago residents between the ages of 58 and 98. All were involved in the Rush Memory and Aging Project which studies cognitive health. The participants completed diet questionnaires between 2004 and 2013, and then analysis matched which one of the three diets mentioned above most resembled their eating habits. Following any of the three diets showed a decrease in Alzheimer’s risk, but the Mediterranean and MIND diet showed the best results. The Mediterranean diet decreased risk the most by 54 percent, and the MIND diet was a close second, reducing risk by 53 percent. Following a DASH diet reduced Alzheimer’s risk by 39 percent. Although the Mediterranean diet reduced risk the most, it had to be strictly followed. Moderately following a Mediterranean diet showed no reduced Alzheimer’s risk, whereas moderately following the MIND diet still reduced risk by 35 percent.
The MIND diet’s ‘brain healthy’ foods include leafy greens, nuts and berries, grains, vegetables, beans, fish, poultry and wine. Unhealthy food groups include red meats, butter and margarine, sweets, cheese, and fried or fast foods.