The MIND Diet for the Aging Brain
A team of scientists from the Rush University Medical Center have discovered that a special diet called the MIND diet can help older people think and remember better.
This diet might be helpful even when people have certain protein deposits in their brains known as amyloid plaques and tangles, which often mess up thinking and problem-solving skills.
These protein deposits often show up in Alzheimer’s disease, a common illness that affects the brains of older people. The research findings were published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The MIND Diet: A Mixture of Mediterranean and DASH Diets
The MIND diet is a mix of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.
In the past, other research studies found that following the MIND diet might lower the risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease dementia, a condition that causes memory loss and confusion.
In the new study, the researchers found that people who ate according to the MIND diet even in their older years didn’t have problems with thinking and memory.
The Research Study: Evaluating Cognitive Skills
The scientists kept track of 569 people. They asked these people to take tests every year to check their memory and thinking skills.
The scientists also asked the participants how often they ate certain foods. Based on these answers, the researchers gave each participant a MIND diet score.
The MIND Diet Components
The MIND diet has 15 parts. These include 10 groups of “brain-healthy foods” and five groups of unhealthy foods.
The unhealthy foods are red meat, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.
MIND Diet and Cognitive Health
The team found that a higher MIND diet score was linked to better memory and thinking skills.
This was true even when taking into account the presence of Alzheimer’s disease pathology and other common brain changes that happen with age.
This means that the MIND diet may have a protective effect and can contribute to cognitive resilience in older adults.
Boosting Brain Health with Diet Changes
Changes in diet can affect how well our brains function and our risk of getting dementia, either for better or for worse.
Making a few simple changes to what we eat and our lifestyle may help slow down the loss of thinking skills that happens as we age, and it can contribute to brain health.
So, eating according to the MIND diet may be a simple way to boost brain health in our older years.
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