Does the MIND Diet Prevent Dementia?

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Diet and dementia development may be connected.

What people eat is essential to their health.

Yes, I am a master of the obvious.

Foods can provide necessary nutrients as well as calories for sustaining energy levels.

Some foods have little to no nutritional value.

Many are “processed” foods from a bag or box instead of straight from nature.

According to a recent MedPage Today article titled “Dementia Risk and Diet Investigated, diet can have long-term health consequences.

Diet can reduce or increase dementia risk.
The MIND diet could reduce the risk of developing incident dementia.

This has been noted in studies of how the MIND diet correlates with cognitive decline.

Changzheng Yuan, ScD, of Zhejiang University School of Medicine in China, and co-authors reported how meta-analysis and three prospective cohort studies have demonstrated how eating according to the MIND diet may lower the risk of incident dementia in older and middle-aged adults.

The meta-analysis reported in JAMA Psychiatry indicated a 17 percent lower risk of developing dementia for those who had the greatest compliance with the MIND diet when compared to those with the lowest compliance.

In addition to the meta-analysis the researchers conducted on 11 observational studies, the three larger prospective studies reviewed by researchers included the Health and Retirement Study in the United States, the Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohorts in the United States, and the Whitehall II cohort in the United Kingdom.

What were the samples for each of these large studies?

The Health and Retirement study included about 6,800 people with an average age of 67 at baseline.

Of the participants, 59 percent were female.

The Framingham Offspring study included about 3,000 individuals.

For this study, the average age was 64 at baseline, and 55 percent were female.

About 8,400 people participated in the Whitehall.

The mean age at baseline was 62, and more than half of the participants were male at 69 percent.

Across the three study cohorts, 775 participants developed incident dementia.

All participants were free of dementia at the baseline, and the food frequency questionnaires provided at or before baseline were used to evaluate MIND diet scores.

A higher score on a 15-point scale indicated better adherence to the diet.

Why are these studies critical?

While diet and cognitive decline have been studied for many years, fewer large studies have reviewed the connection between diet and Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

What were the results?

Although the association between the MIND diet and dementia was more significant in the United States studies, there was a noted correlation between a lower risk of dementia and a higher MIND diet score.

Because the MIND diet is a hybrid of the DASH and Mediterranean diets, it is likely to have lower consumption of meat products and red meat while simultaneously consuming more berries, beans, nuts, olive oil, leafy greens, and other vegetables has protective factors against dementia development.

Reference: MedPage Today (May 3, 2023) “Dementia Risk and Diet Investigated

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