Researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago have developed a new diet which could significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
A new study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association
The new MIND diet was created by nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris, PHD, and colleagues at Rush. This proactive approach to health consists of 15 diary components: 10 “Brain Healthy Food Groups” and 5 unhealthy food groups.
Green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine make up the brain-healthy foods, while red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food are the food groups that should be limited.
Moderate adherence to MIND diet reduced Alzheimer’s risk by 35%
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 – an ongoing study that aims to identify factors that may protect cognitive health.
Dietary information was gathered from food frequency questionnaires the participants completed between 2004 and 2013. The researchers scored participants on how closely their food intake matched either the MIND diet, Mediterranean diet or DASH diet, and incidence of Alzheimer’s disease was assessed over an average follow-up period of 4.5 years.
With more than 5 million people in the US are living with Alzheimer’s, and this number is expected to rise to as many as 16 million by 2050. Currently, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in North America – so adopting this lifestyle diet could be a crucial aide in reducing the risk rate.
The researchers at Rush found that participants whose food intake closely followed either of the three diets were at lower risk of Alzheimer’s. Participants who followed the Mediterranean diet were at 54% lower risk, those who followed the MIND diet were at 53% lower risk, while followers of the DASH diet had a 39% reduced risk for Alzheimer’s.
Morris says one of the most exciting things about their findings is the fact that even following the MIND diet moderately well indicated significant protection against Alzheimer’s. “I think that will motivate people,” she adds.
However, the researchers note that to really benefit from the MIND diet, followers should not overindulge in unhealthy foods, particularly butter, cheese and fried foods.
While further studies are needed to confirm these findings, the researchers believe the MIND diet shows promise for reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s. “We devised a diet and it worked in this Chicago study,” Morris adds.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is the number one way to reduce the risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Read more articles on our blog to learn more ways you can reduce the rate of cognitive impairment and improve your health.
March 18, 2015