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MIND Diet Reduces Alzheimer’s Risk


A new diet has been created to decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  It is a combination of both the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).  These two diets have proven to be effective for both the mind and body. MIND (Mediterranean – DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay was developed by nutritional epidemiologist, Martha Clare Morris, at Rush University Medical Centerin Chicago. The National Institute on Aging funded the study. Her aim was to design a diet that would improve cognitive functioning, thus reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  Mediterranean people are renowned for their healthy diet, and also tend to have a lower incidence of heart disease than other nationalities. The diet consists of eating foods that are natural, and restricting red meat, salt and saturated fats.

Morris and her colleagues have worked on the study for almost ten years.  The study involved 923 elderly people.  They discovered that the diet reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s by 53 percent in people who rigidly stuck to the diet and 39 percent in those who moderately followed it. Morris said “One of the more exciting things about this is that people who adhered even moderately to the MIND diet had a reduction in their risk for AD. “I think that will motivate people.”

The study also found that the longer a person continued with the MIND diet the more they were protected from developing Alzheimer’s. Dana Hunnes, senior dietitian at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and an adjunct assistant professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health said “The Mediterranean and DASH diets are very healthy diets in general,” said Hunnes. “They are extremely high in plant-based foods: fruits, vegetables, plant-based proteins (nuts, seeds, legumes). They are also very high in potassium and magnesium, two electrolytes/minerals we don’t typically get enough of through diet.”

“When it comes to eating fish and fish products, which the Mediterranean diet recommends more of, we need to be careful about some of the potential pollutants and toxins that end up in fish, including mercury and plastic residues. More and more, plastic residues, BPA — other persistent pollutants including DDT — and mercury are found in fish, Hunnes said. “So, if you eat fish, it’s a good idea to aim low in the food chain and look for sustainably fished (line and pole caught) products.” “In general, though, these are healthy eating patterns that are high in produce, low in saturated fat and good for human health and even the environment.”

It involves eating 10 healthy food types daily and avoiding five food types.

The 10 healthy foods include:

Vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables

Berries, especially blueberries



Whole grains



Olive oil


The five unhealthy foods are: 

Fried or fast food

Red meats


Butter and margarine

Pastries and sweets

The rules of the diet are:

Three portions of whole grains per day

Eat a salad each day

Eat one other vegetable every day

Eat nuts almost every day

Eat beans every other day

Consume poultry and berries at least twice a week

Consume fish at least once a week

Unhealthy foods are allowed, but less than one serving per week, with the exception of butter

Less than 1 tablespoon a day of butter is allowed per day



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