MIND diet could benefit metabolic and mental health, study finds

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Scientists from the Kerman University of Medical Sciences and elsewhere found that eating the MIND diet may benefit metabolic and mental health in obese people.

Obesity is a major public health concern worldwide and is linked to various health issues, including mental health problems and metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

A growing body of research suggests that diet plays a crucial role in the prevention and management of these conditions.

The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet is a hybrid diet that combines aspects of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets, both of which are known for their health-promoting properties.

The MIND diet emphasizes foods that are linked to better brain health, including leafy greens, berries, nuts, and fish, while limiting the intake of unhealthy foods like sweets, pastries, and fried foods.

Previous studies have found that the MIND diet is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

But its potential benefits for mental health and metabolic health are less clear.

To examine these associations, a team of researchers conducted a cross-sectional study involving 339 adults with obesity, aged 20-50 years.

The participants completed a semi-quantitative Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) to assess their dietary intake, including 168 food items, and calculated their MIND diet score.

The researchers also measured various metabolic markers, including insulin sensitivity and metabolic syndrome, as well as mental health outcomes such as stress levels.

The results showed that higher MIND diet scores were associated with much higher energy intake, macronutrients, and brain-healthy food intakes, including leafy greens, berries, nuts, and fish.

Interestingly, the intake of sweets and pastries was much lower with the highest MIND intake indicating that people with higher adherence to the MIND diet tend to consume fewer unhealthy foods.

Furthermore, the study found that people with the highest MIND diet intake had lower odds of experiencing stress and higher insulin sensitivity compared to those with the lowest intake

These findings suggest that higher adherence to the MIND diet may have beneficial effects on mental health and metabolic health in people with obesity.

It is important to note that this study has some limitations, including its cross-sectional design, which means that causality cannot be established.

Additionally, the study only included people with obesity, so the results may not be generalizable to other populations.

Despite these limitations, this study provides valuable insights into the potential benefits of the MIND diet for mental and metabolic health in individuals with obesity.

Future research is needed to confirm these findings and to explore the mechanisms by which the MIND diet may impact these outcomes.

The research was published in BMC Endocrine Disorders and was conducted by Abnoos Mokhtari Ardekani et al.

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