Mind Diet Linked To Better Brain & Cognitive Performance . The MIND diet is meant to help you avoid dementia and cognitive decline as you age.
It combines elements of the Mediterranean and DASH diets to produce a nutritional pattern that is specifically geared toward brain health.
This is a comprehensive beginner’s guide that covers all you need to know about the MIND diet and how to follow it.
Aging has a detrimental effect on both the body and the psyche. For instance, the tissue of aging human brains occasionally forms aberrant protein clumps, which are a characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. How can you safeguard your brain against these adverse effects?
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center discovered that older persons may benefit from a specialized diet called the MIND diet even if they develop amyloid plaques and tangles. Plaques and tangles are brain pathologies that form between nerve cells and often impair thinking and problem-solving abilities.
The MIND diet is a mix of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. It was developed by the late Martha Clare Morris, ScD, a Rush nutritional epidemiologist, and her colleagues. Earlier study has indicated that the MIND diet may help lessen a person’s risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Now, according to a research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease on Sept. 14, participants who followed the MIND diet moderately later in life did not experience cognitive difficulties.
“While some people have enough plaques and tangles in their brains to warrant a postmortem diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, they do not develop clinical dementia during their lifetime,” said Klodian Dhana, MD, PhD, the paper’s lead author and an assistant professor in Rush Medical College’s Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine.
“Some individuals retain cognitive function despite the buildup of these pathologies in the brain, and our study indicates that the MIND diet is associated with improved cognitive performance regardless of the presence of brain pathologies associated with Alzheimer’s disease.”
The researchers evaluated the links between food and brain diseases and cognitive functioning in older adults who took part in the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center’s continuing Memory and Aging Project, which began in 1997 and involves residents of greater Chicago. The subjects were predominantly Caucasian and free of recognized dementia, and they all agreed to receive annual clinical examinations during their lives and a brain autopsy following their deaths.
The researchers followed 569 people over a five-year period, requiring them to complete annual evaluations and cognitive tests to determine whether they had developed memory or thinking impairments. Beginning in 2004, participants were given an annual food frequency questionnaire in which they were asked how frequently they consumed 144 different food items throughout the preceding year.
The researchers assigned each participant a MIND diet score based on their questionnaire responses regarding their frequency of consumption of particular foods. The MIND diet consists of fifteen nutritional components, ten of which are “brain-healthy food groups” and five of which are “brain-unhealthy food groups”: red meat, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.
To follow and benefit from the MIND diet, a person must consume at least three servings of whole grains, one green leafy vegetable, and one other vegetable daily – along with a glass of wine – snack on nuts most days, beans every other day or so, poultry and berries at least twice a week, and fish at least once a week. Additionally, a person’s intake of specified harmful foods must be limited, with no more than 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter per day and no more than one dish of sweets and pastries, whole fat cheese, and fried or fast food every week.
The researchers estimated the MIND diet score for each participant across the study period using the frequency of intake reported for healthy and harmful food groups. Through minimize measurement error, the analysis employed an average of the MIND diet score from the start of the trial to the participant’s death. Seven sensitivity measures were determined to ensure the findings were accurate.
“We discovered that a higher MIND diet score was connected with improved memory and reasoning abilities regardless of the presence of Alzheimer’s disease or other typical age-related brain diseases. The diet appeared to have a protective effect and may help the elderly maintain cognitive resilience.” As Dhana stated.
“Dietary modifications can have a positive or negative effect on cognitive functioning and dementia risk,” he continued. “There are several relatively basic dietary and lifestyle modifications that an individual can adopt to assist reduce cognitive decline and promote brain health.”