Multiple studies show a correlation between those who follow the MIND diet and slowed cognitive decline and reduced Alzheimer’s risk. It’s important to note that correlation does not necessarily indicate a causational link. More studies are needed in order to prove that one causes the other.
The MIND Diet
Multiple studies have shown a correlation between the MIND diet and slowed cognitive decline, as well as a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
The MIND diet is one that is derived from both the Mediterranean diet and the “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension” Diet (DASH). Both of these diets are specifically designed to improve cardiovascular health.
Rush University’s Martha Morris and her research colleagues developed the diet. It emphasizes the importance of healthy eating, with a particular emphasis on the following 10 health categories: vegetables, leafy green veggies, nuts, berries, wine, beans, poultry, fish, whole grains, and olive oil.
It particularly stresses the avoidance or restrictions on unhealthy categories as well, such as: fried foods, sweets, pastries, margarine or butter, cheese and red meats.
There were multiple studies that showed the effect of the MIND diet on the mind and body.
In one study, called the “Rush Memory and Aging Project,” 960 older adultsfollowed the diet for nearly five years, and had their cognitive function evaluated every year. The researchers found that those who most religiously adhered to the diet were connected to a slower cognitive decline than their control group counterparts. The results found that their cognitive function was the equivalent to that of a person 7.5 years younger.
In another study, the same researchers analyzed three diets: the “DASH” diet, Mediterranean diet and MIND diet. They recorded individuals’ adherence levels to each of those diets, and followed up to see which ones of those individuals developed Alzheimer’s disease later on.
They also made a note to factor out other characteristics such as past correlations to dementia risk, physical activity, sex, age, education levels, weight, low BMIs, high blood pressure history, stroke risk and diabetes.
The study showed that those who adhered highly to the MIND diet showed 53 percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, compared to their non-MIND adhering counterparts.