What is the MIND diet and why is it associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer's?

There is no doubt that food is a fundamental pillar for our health.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
19 March 2023 Sunday 00:26
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What is the MIND diet and why is it associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer's?

There is no doubt that food is a fundamental pillar for our health. The benefits of a balanced diet in our body are very extensive, including the possibility of reducing the risk of various diseases. Including degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia.

This is the case of the MIND diet. Its name responds to the acronym of Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay and is a combination between the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet –related to a decrease in blood pressure–, aimed at the intervention of neurodegenerative delay.

Numerous studies show that the MIND diet is associated with a lower risk of contracting neurological disorders, slowing down the cognitive deterioration derived from the passing of the years. Thus, it helps prevent diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia, including Parkinson's.

One study examined the relationships between the MIND diet and Alzheimer's disease with a sample of 923 participants, 58 to 98 years of age, followed for an average of 4.5 years. Their results proved that high adherence to the MIND diet reduced the incidence of Alzheimer's by 54%. Likewise, moderate adherence to this regimen can also decrease the risk of this disease by 35%.

For its part, another research article examined whether the association of the MIND diet with cognition is independent of common brain pathologies. Their conclusion was that this diet is associated with better cognitive functioning regardless of common brain pathology, reinforcing the claim that the MIND diet may contribute to cognitive resilience in the elderly.

This was also corroborated by a systematic review of studies, extolling that adherence to the MIND diet is positively associated with specific domains of cognition and global cognitive function in older adults. He also remarked that this dietary pattern is better than other plant-rich diets for improving cognition.

On the other hand, a research article pointed out that nutritional strategies such as the MIND diet can be an effective tool to delay the onset of Parkinson's.

The MIND diet is based on fruits and vegetables as the main pillar in the diet, which must be present in all meals in a majority. He especially praises the virtues of green leafy vegetables and antioxidant-rich fruits, such as blueberries and strawberries.

He also opts for eating whole grains instead of refined ones. For example, replace white rice with brown rice. Extra virgin olive oil should be the main source of fat, using it for cooking and dressing, as it is anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants. As well as taking nuts like walnuts.

This diet advocates reducing the consumption of red meat, prioritizing oily fish rich in Omega 3 and lean meats such as chicken and turkey. Legumes also occupy an important position in the MIND diet. Finally, it urges to limit the consumption of salt, sugars, saturated fats, ultra-processed foods and alcohol as much as possible.