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Neurobiology of Aging

Published in 2015, research from Rush University in Chicago has combined elements from the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, developed in the early 1990s by Harvard researchers), called the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet. The goal is to prevent AD. They tested over 900 Chicago-area seniors over four and a half years. The longer people had followed the MIND diet patterns, the less risk they appeared to have for AD. 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.

Tip

Consume greens, berries, and nuts frequently to help improve mind health.

The MIND diet outlines 15 dietary components to follow.

Ten “brain-healthy food groups”:

  • Green leafy vegetables—daily
  • Other vegetables—daily
  • Nuts—five times per week
  • Berries—twice per week (½ cup)
  • Beans—every other day (½ cup)
  • Whole grains—at least three daily
  • Fish—at least weekly
  • Poultry—twice per week
  • Olive oil—use as main cooking oil
  • Wine—daily

Five “Unhealthy Food Groups”:

  • Red meats—fewer than four servings per week
  • Butter and stick margarine—less than 1 tablespoon per day
  • Cheeses—less than one serving per week
  • Pastries and sweets—fewer than five per week
  • Fried or fast food—none

While the MIND diet research is compelling and promising, more research is needed to replicate the results. With the exclusion of most dairy foods, calcium and vitamin D will likely need to be supplemented or replaced by fortified soy products. It is unclear why low- or nonfat dairy products are not included. If you consume dairy products and/or eat out frequently, this diet could be a challenge to follow.