COMMENTARY

Can the MIND Diet Reduce Alzheimer's Risk?

Alan R. Jacobs, MD

Disclosures

March 08, 2016

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This is the Medscape Neurology Minute. I'm Dr Alan Jacobs.

The MIND diet, created by researchers at Rush University Medical Center, has repeatedly ranked as the easiest to follow and second best diet overall in terms of reducing the risk for hypertension, heart disease, and stroke. It has now been found to protect against dementia. The name MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, where DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

In a recent study, the MIND diet lowered the risk for Alzheimer's disease by 53% in participants who rigorously adhered to it and by nearly 35% in those who followed it moderately well.[1] Adhering to the MIND diet has also been found to slow cognitive decline among aging adults independent of any Alzheimer's disease risk.[2]

The MIND diet has 15 dietary components: 10 brain-healthy food groups and 5 unhealthy groups, which consist of red meat, butter and margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food. To adhere to and benefit from the MIND diet, one would need to eat at least 3 daily servings of whole grains, a green leafy vegetable and one other vegetable every day, drink a glass of wine daily, snack mostly on nuts, have beans every other day or so, eat poultry and berries at least twice per week, and eat fish at least once per week. Limiting intake of the unhealthy foods is imperative to realizing the full benefits of the diet. Confirmation of these results in different populations and through randomized trials is needed.

This has been the Medscape Neurology Minute. I'm Dr Alan Jacobs.

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