Could the brain-boosting MIND diet reduce the risk of dementia?


Following the MIND diet, which encourages plenty of brain-boosting foods such as berries, could help reduce the risk of dementia according to new research. — AFP pic

Following the MIND diet, which encourages plenty of brain-boosting foods such as berries, could help reduce the risk of dementia according to new research. — AFP pic

SYDNEY, March 11 — New Australian research has found that following the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay diet, more commonly known as the MIND diet, does appear to reduce the risk of cognitive impairment in older adults.

Carried out by researchers at the Australian National University, the University of New South Wales, and Neuroscience Research Australia, the new study looked at 1,220 adults age 60 and above to assess the effect of the MIND diet, which was designed specifically to boost brain health, and the traditional Mediterranean diet, on the chance of development cognitive impairment and disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The participants were asked about their dietary habits using a food frequency questionnaire at the start of the study and given a score to show how closely they followed the MIND or Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fish, fruits, nuts, vegetables, beans, and olive oil and lower in meat, dairy, and processed foods, has already been linked in numerous studies to a range of health benefits including a lower risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases and a longer life.

The MIND diet is partially based on the Mediterranean diet, but includes foods associated with brain health. There are 15 components to follow, with ten encouraging followers to eat green leafy vegetables and other vegetables, berries, whole grains, nuts, beans, fish, poultry, olive oil, as well as enjoy a little red wine, and five which advise limiting butter and margarine, cheese, red meat, fried food, and cakes and pastries.

The participants were then followed for a period of 12 years, during which the researchers assessed their cognitive abilities and any cognitive impairment.

The findings, published last week in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, showed that following the MIND diet was linked to a 19 per cent reduced risk of developing clinically diagnosed mild cognitive impairment or dementia.

Perhaps surprising, no benefit was found for sticking to a Mediterranean diet.

“This study has shown for the first time, outside of the United States, that the MIND diet reduces the risk of dementia,” says lead author Professor Kaarin Anstey.

Professor Anstey added that further research is now need, but hopes that finding will help develop recommendations for reducing the risk of dementia. — AFP-Relaxnews

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