MIND diet may help lower death risk in older people

Credit: Carly Jayne/ Unsplash.

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh found eating the MIND diet for a long time is linked to a lower death risk in older people.

The Mediterranean diet is inspired by the eating habits of people who live near the Mediterranean Sea.

When initially formulated in the 1960s, it drew on the cuisines of Greece, Italy, France, and Spain.

A Mediterranean-style diet is based on these foods: vegetables, fruits, extra virgin olive oil, wholegrain bread and cereals, legumes or beans, nuts and seeds, fish and seafood, onion, garlic, and other herbs and spices (e.g. oregano, coriander, cumin, etc.)

The MIND (Mediterranean-DASH diet intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet targets the health of the aging brain.

Both the Mediterranean and DASH diets had already been associated with the preservation of cognitive function, presumably through their protective effects against heart disease, which in turn preserved brain health.

The purpose of the research was to see if the MIND diet, partially based on the Mediterranean and DASH diets, could directly prevent the onset or slow the progression of dementia.

All three diets highlight plant-based foods and limit the intake of animal and high-saturated fat foods.

The MIND diet recommends specific “brain healthy” foods to include, and five unhealthy food items to limit.

In the current study, researchers aimed to evaluate the association of three dietary patterns: the diet; a Mediterranean-type diet, and a traditional diet, with death risk in older people over a 12-year period.

The team examined the dietary patterns and death data of these people.

Dietary patterns were ascertained in 882 participants, mean age of 70, before the study. During the 12-year follow-up (to October 2019), 206 deaths occurred.

The researchers found all three diets were strongly linked to lower death risks.

The MIND and Mediterranean-type diets have a lower death risk and the traditional diet with a higher risk.

Further analysis showed that eating the MIND diet more frequently was linked to all-cause death risk.

People in the top compared with the bottom third of the MIND diet score had a 37 % lower risk of death.

Based on the findings, the researchers suggest that closer adherence to the MIND diet is associated with a much lower risk of death risk, over 12 years of follow-up, and may constitute a valid public health recommendation for prolonged survival.

The research was published in Public Health Nutrition and conducted by Janie Corley.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health and the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about plant nutrients that could help reduce high blood pressure, and these antioxidants could help lower dementia risk.

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