What is the MIND diet? A meal plan to keep your brain and body healthy
It’s estimated that 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease — that’s one out of 10 Americans over the age of 65. Five years ago, researchers from Rush University in Chicago developed a diet plan to try to beat this somber statistic.
The eating plan was created by combining the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, a meal plan used to help reduce blood pressure. The goal was to provide clear guidance on what to eat — and what to skip — to slow age-related brain dysfunction. Researchers coined it the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay diet, aka the MIND diet.
The science behind the MIND diet
Previous research showed that both rigorous — and even moderate — adherence to the MIND diet may help reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 50%.
Two new major trials have begun to assess the effectiveness of diet and other factors on heart and vascular disease. The first trial will assess cognitive function (through test scores) during a three-year time frame in individuals that follow the MIND approach compared to those on a “standard” diet. Both diets will be structured to encourage weight loss. The second trial will involve specific lifestyle interventions in an older population at risk for cognitive decline. In addition to diet, exercise habits, cognitive stimulation and self-monitoring of heart health risk factors will be tracked over a two-year period.