The MIND Diet is one that is meant to allow a dieter to be able to achieve better weight and overall bodily health in order to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and several other mental health issues associated with mental decline. It stands for “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.” It was initially created by nutritional epidemiologist, Martha Clare Morris, from Rush University Medical Center.
This diet was the result of a study that received its funding through the National Institute on Aging. The study was first published online in February 2015. The study tracked the foods consumed by 923 senior citizens living in the Chicago area. The study ran for four and a half years. Among the participants, 144 received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.
The idea behind the MIND Diet is essentially combining two proven diets, the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet. This strategy focuses on the foods that are specifically known to be those that affect the health of the brain.
In order to follow this diet, you must eat from within 10 different food groups that are meant to impact the brain in a healthful way. Those food groups are green leafy vegetables; all other veggies; beans, berries, whole grains, poultry, fish, nuts, olive oil and wine. At the same time, people following this diet are also meant to avoid certain food groups that are not considered to promote a healthy brain. Those are: butter and stick margarine; cheeses, red meats; sweets and pastries; and fried or fast foods.
In the study that resulted in the creation of this diet, the people who made even the slightest changes in their diets – despite the fact that they wouldn’t have fit into the criteria as being considered followers of the Mediterranean or DASH diets – still showed a reduced Alzheimer’s Disease risk. When people followed what is now considered to be the MIND diet on a moderate level, their risk of the disease decreased by about 35 percent. People who were rigorous followers of the MIND diet reduced their risk of the disease by 53 percent.
The results of the study that created the MIND Diet only provided further evidence to that which already existed from two large American studies. They saw a slower cognitive decline in people who regularly ate certain foods that are now part of the MIND food groups. They found unique benefits to many of those food groups. Combined, they are proving to be quite powerful.