Most people think of a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, olive oil and fish as being good for the heart. The Mediterranean diet is in the news again because of its benefits for the brain. Could it help you avoid dementia?
What You Eat May Help You Avoid Dementia:
The Health and Retirement Study:
New data presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference suggests that the same diet that protects the heart may reduce cognitive impairment as people age. Roughly 6,000 older Americans participating in the Health and Retirement Study took tests of their cognitive function. They also recorded data about their diets. Those who stuck closely to a Mediterranean-type diet or a MIND diet were 35 percent more likely to do well on the mental tests (McEvoy et al, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, April 25, 2017).
What Is the MIND Diet?
The MIND diet combines features of the Mediterranean diet with the DASH diet and stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (Morris, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, March 2016). It includes plenty of leafy vegetables, berries, beans, nuts and fruit, along with whole grains, fish and occasionally chicken. The primary fat is olive oil, and people are allowed to drink some wine with meals. People on a MIND diet avoid fried foods, sweets, butter, margarine, cheese and red meat.
The Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study:
The MIND diet was also the focus of another study presented at the conference. Scientists at Wake Forest School of Medicine collected data from more than 7,000 older women for nearly ten years. Those whose diets most closely resembled a MIND diet, with little or no red meat, saturated fat or fried foods were 34 percent less likely to develop dementia during the decade.
If you would like guidance on a DASH diet or a Mediterranean diet to help you keep your blood pressure and heart healthy and avoid dementia, you can find it in our book, Quick & Handy Home Remedies.