The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet is believed to be good for the brain, but there is not enough evidence to support this idea.
In this study, researchers aimed to investigate whether the MIND diet is related to cognitive function and cognitive decline among middle-aged and older adults.
The study included 4066 participants from the China Health and Nutrition Survey who had at least one cognitive test between 1997 and 2006.
The participants’ diets were assessed using a MIND diet score, which is based on 12 different types of food groups, including healthy and unhealthy foods. The higher the score, the better the diet.
The researchers found that participants with higher MIND diet scores had better cognitive function.
In fact, for every three-point increment of the MIND diet score, there was a significant increase in cognitive function equivalent to being one year younger in age.
Eating more nuts, fish, red meats, and tea was associated with better cognitive function, while consuming fried foods was associated with worse cognitive function.
In a meta-analysis of 26,103 participants, the researchers found that a higher MIND diet score was associated with higher cognitive function and potentially slower cognitive decline.
This suggests that following a MIND diet may be good for brain health in middle-aged and older adults.
However, more research is needed to confirm these findings and to better understand the effects of the MIND diet on cognitive function.
How to have a healthy MIND diet
The MIND diet is a type of eating plan that may help protect the brain and reduce the risk of cognitive decline as you age. Here are some tips on how to follow a healthy MIND diet:
Eat plenty of vegetables: The MIND diet emphasizes eating green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and broccoli, as well as other vegetables like carrots and tomatoes.
Include berries in your diet: Berries are high in antioxidants and have been linked to better brain health. Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are all good choices.
Consume whole grains: Whole grains are an important source of fiber and nutrients. The MIND diet recommends eating whole wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, and other whole grains.
Choose healthy fats: Healthy fats, such as those found in nuts, seeds, and olive oil, can help support brain health. The MIND diet recommends consuming nuts and seeds several times per week.
Eat fish regularly: Fatty fish, like salmon and tuna, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain health. The MIND diet recommends eating fish at least once per week.
Limit unhealthy foods: The MIND diet recommends limiting the intake of unhealthy foods, such as fast food, fried food, and sweets.
Be mindful of alcohol consumption: The MIND diet recommends limiting alcohol intake to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is important for overall health, including brain health.
Following a healthy MIND diet may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and support brain health.
The research is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
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