The National Institute of Aging funded a study over a period of four and a half years among 960 older adults who were free of dementia at the beginning of the study. Averaging 81.4 years in age, the study participants were residents of more than 40 retirement communities and senior public housing units in the Chicago area. The study showed the importance of green leafy vegetables and the power of eating a salad a day.
Taking the data from the study and other research, researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago created and studied a diet that helped lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 53 percent by those who adhered to it rigorously and by about 35 percent in those who followed it moderately well.
It is called the MIND diet, short for Mediterranean & Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. It is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets.
“One of the more exciting things about this is that people who adhered even moderately to the diet had a reduction in their risk for Alzheimers,” the lead researcher said. The diet slowed mental degeneration even among those who didn’t have Alzheimer’s.
Very similar diets reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions, like hypertension, heart attack and stroke as well.
The diet consists of 10 foods to eat and 5 to avoid. The 10 to eat are:
- Green leafy vegetables: one salad daily
- Other vegetables: one serving daily
- Nuts: one serving daily
- Berries: two or more servings a week, blueberries and strawberries preferred
- Beans: Three ‐ four servings per week
- Whole grains: three servings daily
- Fish: one or more servings per week
- Poultry: at least two servings per week
- Olive oil: As your primary oil
- Wine: one glass per day
The 5 to avoid are:
- Red meats: eat rarely
Butter: No more than a tablespoon a day; never margarine
Cheese: one serving or less per week
Pastries and sweets: Avoid all
Fried or fast food: Less than one serving per week