The MIND Diet Showing Promise in Preventing Alzheimer’s

The Mind DietI’ve been reading with great interest about this new diet called the Mind Diet based on studies done at Rush University. Could be the topic of a forthcoming website I build.

Came across this WebMD Q&A with the fellow who developed the DASH diet. He thinks the Mind diet is ‘tremendously’ exciting. I think that really speaks to the promise it has.

Q: The MIND diet has us all talking at WebMD. We’re all very interested in trying to prevent the tsunami of Alzheimer’s that seems to be hurtling towards us. The MIND diet seems to offer a lot of promise. Do you think it’s possible through a pattern of eating, the MIND or another kind of diets, to prevent Alzheimer’s? If so, which eating pattern is best?

A: I’m very, very excited about this. We hope to do a definitive randomized trial of the MIND diet to prevent cognitive decline in older people who have risk factors.

The MIND diet shares characteristics of other types of healthful diets like Mediterranean diet and DASH diet. It just tweaks the types of foods so they agree with the epidemiology about Alzheimer’s. For example, it stresses foods that have shown to help Alzheimer’s like berries, particularly blueberries. Nuts—tree nuts, peanuts, almonds. Extra virgin olive oil. Fish. Some others as well. Martha Clare Morris (PhD, a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University in Chicago) put this together and devised the MIND diet.

I really am impressed with the potential. Morris has done lots of what we call observational studies. She’s finding that people who have high adherence to the MIND diet and also other healthy behaviors, they have no age-related cognitive decline at all from age 75 out to age 85. That’s truly amazing.

It’s tremendously exciting to me. I think this is a huge issue as the population ages. Sticking to it seems to be really important. So you can start this late in life and it has good effect.

That’s the amazing thing about it, that even when people are quite elderly, it protects them from cognitive decline. The total package that has the strongest protective association is the MIND diet plus regular physical activity and not being obese. If you put that together you absolutely have no cognitive decline at all. That’s what we’d like to prove in a randomized clinical trial. We’re in discussions with the National Institute on Aging to test this. Our hope is that we’ll start early next year.

Full interview here: The Real Deal on Diets: Expert Q&A

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