Scientists from Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences and elsewhere found that eating the MIND diet may help lower heart disease risk.
The Mediterranean-DASH intervention for neurodegenerative delay (MIND) targets the health of the aging brain.
Dementia is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, driving many people to search for ways to prevent cognitive decline.
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.
All three diets highlight plant-based foods and limit the intake of animal and high-saturated fat foods.
The MIND diet contains foods rich in certain vitamins, carotenoids, and flavonoids that are believed to protect the brain by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.
The link between the MIND diet and heart disease has yet to be examined.
In the current study, researchers aimed to examine if there was a link between MIND diet adherence and the risk of heart in adults over 10 years period.
They tested more than 2800 people who were free of heart disease and were followed up for 10.6 years.
The MIND diet score was calculated for each person with a food frequency questionnaire.
Reliable medical data was used to evaluate heart disease events, including coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart-related mortality.
During the follow-up, a total of 200 heart disease events happened.
The team found each increase in the MIND diet score reduced the risk of heart disease by 16%.
Among the components of the MIND diet, each increase in whole grains, green leafy vegetables, and beans reduced the risk of heart disease by 60%, 45%, and 65%, respectively.
Finally, the findings showed that higher adherence to the MIND was linked to a lower risk of heart disease and fewer heart disease events.
The researchers suggest that more well-designed studies are needed to confirm the results.
The research was published in Food & Function and conducted by Mahdieh Golzarand et al.
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