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What is The MIND Diet?

Cognitive DeclineThe MIND diet is based on the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approach to Systolic Hypertension) diets, with an emphasis on natural plant-based foods and limited consumption of saturated fats and animal-based foods. The MIND diet, which is investigated to possibly slow down age-related cognitive decline, differs in that it uniquely incorporates the intake of berries and green leafy vegetables, while not specifying significant consumption of certain foods detailed in the Mediterranean and DASH diets, such as fruit, dairy, potato or more than one meal of fish per week (Morris et. al, 2015).

Results of The MIND Diet Study 

As covered in our previous article introducing the MIND Diet Study, it was conducted on an elderly sample (average age = 81.4 years) of participants to determine the potential for an association between adherence to the MIND diet and reductions in rates of cognitive decline over an average period of 4.7-years. After adjusting for the variables of age, sex, APOE e4, education, smoking history, physical activity, cardiovascular health, weight and participation in cognitive activities, the MIND diet score was shown to have a statistically significant association with slower rates of cognitive decline. In fact, the study revealed that participants with the highest MIND diet scores experienced a slowing of cognitive decline that resulted in them being the equivalent of 7.5 years younger than the participants with the lowest scores (Morris et. al, 2015). This was demonstrated by its associated benefits in all measured cognitive domains, especially episodic memory, semantic memory and perceptual speed.

The findings of the study suggest that adherence to the MIND diet has a significant ability to slow down the cognitive decline that comes with age. Moreover, it has demonstrated stronger benefits on cognitive health than either the Mediterranean diet or DASH diet. To confirm the preventive effects of the MIND diet on cognitive decline, future studies are required to replicate these findings in other populations.

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Kang JH, Ascherio A, Grodstein F. Fruit and vegetable consumption and cognitive decline in aging women. Ann Neurol 2005;57:713-720.

Nooyens AC, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, van Boxtel MP, van Gelder BM, Verhagen H, Verschuren WM. Fruit and vegetable intake and cognitive decline in middle-aged men and women: The Doetin-chem cohort study. Br J Nutr 2011;106:752-761.

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Morris, M. C., Tangney, C. C., Wang, Y., Sacks, F. M., Barnes, L. L., Bennett, D. A., & Aggarwal, N. T. (2015). MIND diet slows cognitive decline with aging. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 11(9), 1015-1022. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2015.04.011

Wilson RS, Arnold SE, Tang Y, Bennett DA. Odor identification and decline in different cognitive domains in old age. Neuroepidemiology 2006;26:61-67.