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- The MIND diet: Can you eat your way to a healthier brain?
Dementia is a mental condition wherein brain functions are said to be impaired, such as memory loss and judgment. Chronic dementia can last for several years or can even be lifetime. A new study has suggested that following a specifically designed MIND diet may help reduce risks of the debilitating disease. The study, which was conducted by researchers at UNSW, Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and ANU Australia looked at the dietary patterns of older adults in the country and concluded that those who followed a diet rich in foods that promote brain health, showed a reduced risk of developing cognitive impairment.
The results of the study were published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The study reviewed the impact of the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet and said that following a diet that is especially rich in increasing brain health reduces the risks of cognitive impairment and disorders. For the study, the researchers followed 1,220 participants with an average age of 60 and older, for a period of 12 years. The MIND diet focuses on 15 separate dietary components including leafy green vegetables, olive oil, whole grains and even small amounts of red meat.
The researchers observed a pattern among the participants- while there was no significant benefit attached to following just the Mediterranean diet alone, those who followed the MIND diet seemed to have a 19 per cent lower chance of developing symptoms of cognitive impairment. The MIND diet borrows from Mediterranean diet, but combines other components that are brain-healthy as well. “The MIND diet was developed specifically to promote brain health. Higher MIND scores have been associated previously with reduced Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and a slower rate of cognitive decline in a sample of older adults from Chicago USA”, said the study.
It concluded by saying, “Our study provides evidence that the MIND diet is protective of long-term cognitive health and that effects are generalisable to a sample outside the USA. These findings support recommending consumption of the MIND diet to reduce the risk of later cognitive impairment.”