Evidence is growing on the power of diet to curb – and even prevent to some extent – the effects of Alzheimer’s in older adults: a new study revealed that the so-called MIND (or ‘mind’) diet was associated with a lower cognitive impairment and risk of developing this disease.
The research, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and conducted by the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, it concluded that older people can benefit from the MIND diet since it combines traits of the Mediterranean and the DASH diet (sigkas of Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, which in Spanish is translates as Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).
Those who followed it moderately during the third age, presented fewer cognitive problems, even having accumulated proteins in the brain associated with this disease that affects 1 in 9 people over 65 in the US, and whose prevalence is higher in Hispanics, according to the National Alzheimer’s Association.
Since 1997, the study analyzed the records of 569 participants living in the Chicago area who agreed to undergo brain autopsies after death and who, in life, underwent annual clinical and cognitive evaluations and completed surveys on their diet that allowed determine to what extent they followed the MIND diet.
By analyzing the data and looking for protein deposits in the brain that have been associated with Alzheimer’s, the researchers concluded that those patients who adhered more to the MIND diet had fewer symptoms of cognitive decline.
“Some people who had enough plaques and knots in their brains to have a diagnosis post mortem Alzheimer’s disease, did not develop clinical dementia in life “said Klodian Dhana, who led the study and heads the Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Rush University.
In his view, these findings support the idea that dietary changes can have an impact on cognitive functioning, “for better or worse” and that “small lifestyle habits can help brain health” and slow down the aging process.
What is the MIND diet?
According to the Mayo Clinic, the MIND diet emerges as a hybrid between two eating styles that have been backed by decades of research: the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet, which help lower blood pressure, a risk factor for Alzheimer’s.
The MIND diet limit your intake of red meat, cheese, butters, processed foods, and sugars. It also encourages the consumption of other food groups, namely: