A new diet could lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by half.
Researchers from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL, have created a diet that can significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, even for those who do not follow it precisely.
The diet is called the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet. According to the researchers, it uses aspects of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet – an eating plan based on studies supported by the National Institute of Health – and the Mediterranean diet.
The new MIND diet requires the person’s daily food intake to be rich in vegetables, beans, berries, fish, whole grains (three times a day), poultry and olive oil. People are also advised to consume a glass of wine. Intake of unhealthy food items like butter and cheese, red meat, pastry, sweets and fried foods should be avoided.
For their study, the researchers analyzed the food intake of 923 Chicago residents between the ages of 58 and 98 who were part of the Rush Memory and Aging Project, which is an ongoing study that aims to identify factors that may protect cognitive health.
The researchers then scored participants on how closely their food intake matched the MIND diet and incidence of Alzheimer’s disease was assessed over an average follow-up period of 4.5 years.
They found that those who followed the MIND diet were at 53% lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
Martha Clare Morris, PhD, nutritional epidemiologist at the Rush University Medical Center, and the lead author of the study, said, “The dietary components of the MIND diet are also the foundations of the Mediterranean and DASH diets – both of which have been found through randomized controlled trials to have many cardiovascular benefits. It is hard to come up with a potential downside to adopting these dietary habits.”
The findings were published in ‘Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association’.