MIND diet linked to better cognitive function in older adults, study finds

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Researchers from Rush University Medical Center have found that the MIND diet, a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, is associated with better cognitive performance in older people.

The study suggests that the MIND diet can offer protective effects against cognitive decline, even in the presence of Alzheimer’s disease pathology like amyloid plaques and tangles.

The research is led by Klodian Dhana and is published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The study followed 569 participants, who underwent annual evaluations and cognitive tests to assess memory and thinking abilities.

The participants were given MIND diet scores based on their food consumption patterns, which were reported through questionnaires.

The MIND diet consists of 15 dietary components, which include 10 “brain-healthy food groups” and five groups considered unhealthy.

Key Findings

  • A higher MIND diet score was correlated with better cognitive function, irrespective of Alzheimer’s pathology or other age-related brain issues.
  • Even those with amyloid plaques and tangles seemed to benefit from adhering to the MIND diet.

The MIND Diet

The MIND diet is a fusion of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.

It includes 10 “brain-healthy” food groups such as vegetables, berries, fish, and nuts, and five unhealthy groups, including red meat and fast food.

Contextualizing the Findings

The study supports previous research suggesting that the MIND diet can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The new findings add to this by showing that the diet may offer cognitive benefits even after the development of Alzheimer’s disease pathology.

Practical Implications

Dietary choices can significantly impact cognitive health, especially in older adults.

This study suggests that adopting the MIND diet could offer protective benefits against cognitive decline and contribute to better brain health in the elderly.


The findings present a strong case for the MIND diet as a dietary intervention that can contribute to cognitive resilience in older adults, regardless of the presence of Alzheimer’s disease pathology.

Simple diet and lifestyle changes could help slow cognitive decline and improve overall brain health.

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