New Hybrid Diet Found to Cut Alzheimer's Risk, Even Without Strict Adherence

New Hybrid Diet Found to Cut Alzheimer's Risk, Even Without Strict Adherence
New Hybrid Diet Found to Cut Alzheimer's Risk, Even Without Strict Adherence

The MIND diet may significantly reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease even if the diet is not rigorously followed, an article has shown. Findings from the study are published in Alzheimer's & Dementia.

The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet was developed by Martha Clare Morris, PhD, a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center, and colleagues. It is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets, which have been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular conditions (eg, hypertension, heart attack, stroke).

The MIND diet consists of 15 dietary components: 10 "brain-healthy food groups" (eg, green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil, wine) and five unhealthy groups (eg, red meats, butter, stick margarine, cheese, pastries, sweets, fried or fast food). A person can benefit by consuming at least three servings of whole grains, a salad, and one other vegetable every day (with a glass of wine); snacking most days on nuts; having beans every other day or so; having poultry and berries at least twice a week and fish once a week. At the same time, the person must limit butter consumption to <1tbsp/day, and <1 serving a week for cheese, fried or fast food.

RELATED: Mediterranean, DASH Diets May Slow Cognitive Decline

The study enrolled existing participants in the ongoing Rush memory and Aging Project (MAP) that started in 1997. From 2004–2013, an optional "food frequency questionnaire" was added, and the study evaluated data from 923 volunteers of which 144 subjects developed Alzheimer's disease. Researchers compared the MIND diet with the Mediterranean and DASH diets. Subjects that demonstrated high adherence to the DASH and Mediterranean diets had reductions in Alzheimer's disease of 39% and 54%, respectively. However, moderate adherence to the two diets resulted in negligible benefits.

Following the MIND diet reduced the risk of Alzheimer's disease by as much as 53% in subjects who followed the diet rigorously, and by about 35% in subjects who followed the diet moderately well. The study authors call for additional randomized trials in different populations to understand the relationship between the MIND diet and Alzheimer's disease.

For more information visit Rush.edu.