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Diet for Alzheimer's Patients--Can Dementia be Prevented? A Discussion of the MIND Diet

MIND Diet Research

You might have seen talk about the MIND diet in the news recently. MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. Both the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet are considered nutritious patterns of eating that lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, and reduce risk of diabetes. These diets also have brain health benefits.

This combo diet was studied in people who did not have dementia to see if it was associated with cognitive function as the years passed. In numerous studies, those who adhered more closely to the MIND diet guidelines had lower rates of cognitive decline over the duration of the study. This signals to this diet being able to help prevent cognitive decline.

brain neuron

What is on the MIND Diet?

Fortunately, the MIND diet is very much in line with the general nutrition advice that we hear from reputable sources. There is nothing on the diet that is surprising. For those who were hoping for an easy solution to improve their health, it is not a quick fix to a poor eating pattern.

Foods to Include:

  • 3 servings or more per day of whole grains

  • 6 servings or more per week of green leafy vegetables

  • 1 serving or more per day of vegetables (other than green leafy)

  • 5 servings or more per week of nuts

  • 2 servings or more per week of berries

  • 4 meals or more per week of beans

  • 2 meals or more per week of poultry

  • 1 meal or more per week of fish

  • Mainly olive oil if added fat is used

Foods to Avoid

  • 5 servings or less per week of pastries and sweets

  • 4 servings or less per week of red meat (including beef, pork, lamb, and products made from these meats)

  • 1 serving or less per week of cheese

  • 1 serving or less per week of fried foods

  • 1 tablespoon or less per day of butter/stick margarine

Starting the MIND Diet

The best time to start the MIND diet is when you are young! Waiting for the beginning signs of cognitive decline or waiting until you are older will make you miss the opportunity to experience the extent of the health benefits. It could take a lifetime of good nutrition to have a healthy older adulthood.

If you have not started the MIND diet yet, the second best time to start it is now! Making healthy lifestyle changes at any age can help improve your health.

Summary of the MIND Diet

The MIND diet may help prevent dementia, but remember that the MIND diet guidance parallels general nutrition advice for a healthy lifestyle. If your lifestyle has room for improvement, the best time to start that is now. Unfortunately dementia can't be reversed or cured, but fortunately, a healthy diet can lower your risk.


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