Diet to prevent mental decline
With age, the risk of developing cognitive impairment and dementia increases. A recent study showed that proper nutrition can contribute to cognitive flexibility in the elderly. In particular, the so-called MIND diet appears to increase resistance to dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago (USA) found that older people can benefit from a special diet, the so-called MIND diet, even if they have already formed harmful protein deposits (amyloid plaque) in the brain. The working group’s research findings were recently published in “Alzheimer’s Disease Journal” gifts.
What are amyloid plaques?
Abnormal clumps of protein sometimes form in the brains of people of advanced age. These so-called amyloid plaques are associated with the development of Alzheimer’s dementia. Plaques are deposited between neurons and affect people’s thinking and problem-solving skills. Researchers call the deposits “the Alzheimer’s disease brand.”
What is the Mind Diet?
The Mind Diet was developed by a team led by late-stage nutritional epidemiologist Martha Claire Morris. The MIND diet combines nutritional recommendations from the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Both diets are among the healthiest eating patterns in the world. Previous research has suggested that the MIND diet can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
There are no symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease despite the deposits
The results of the current study suggest that the MIND diet can improve mental performance when amyloid plaques have already developed. “Some people have so many plaques and nodules in their brain that they are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, but do not develop clinical dementia during their lifetime,” the study’s lead author explains. Claudian Dana.
Proper nutrition appears to protect against dementia
He said diet could play an important role in whether a person with amyloid plaques develops symptoms of dementia. “Our study indicates that the MIND diet is associated with better cognitive functions regardless of brain disease associated with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Associate Professor Dana.
As part of the study, researchers examined the relationship between nutrition and cognitive function in 569 older adults who participated in the so-called “Memory and Aging Project” at the Alzheimer’s Disease Center. The project began in 1997. Participants came from the greater Chicago area and were clinically examined and cognitively tested annually until the test subjects died. In addition, all participants had to provide information on foods consumed regularly. Brain autopsies were performed on deceased participants.
Healthy and bad foods for the brain
The researchers divided the foods consumed into groups and, according to the basic principle of the MIND diet, differentiated between foods that are expected to have a positive effect on the brain and foods associated with negative effects on the brain.
What foods are associated with negative brain health?
Foods associated with poor brain health include red and processed meats, butter, margarine, cheese, pastries, candy, fried foods, prepared foods or fast foods.
The basic principle of the MIND diet
According to the researchers, in order to stick to and benefit from the MIND diet, a person should eat at least three servings of whole-grain products, one serving of green leafy vegetables and one serving of other vegetables each day. Additionally, a handful of nuts should be consumed on most days. Legumes like beans should be on the menu about every other day. Poultry and berries should be eaten at least twice a week and fish at least once a week.
At the same time, the consumption of all unhealthy foods should be restricted. The daily amount of butter should not exceed 1.5 teaspoons, and less than one serving of sweets or pastries should be eaten per day. You should not eat full-fat cheese, fried dishes or fast food more than once a week.
The MIND diet improved memory and thinking skills
Using the data, the researchers were able to determine how well the participants’ diets matched the MIND diet. “We found that higher compliance with the MIND diet was associated with better memory and thinking skills, independent of Alzheimer’s disease and other common age-related brain diseases,” says Dana.
It is useful to change your diet
According to the study author, the diet appears to have a protective effect and may contribute to cognitive flexibility in older adults. “Diet can have an impact on cognitive performance and risk of dementia, through thick and thin,” Dhana asserts. According to him, there are relatively simple changes in diet and lifestyle that can help slow cognitive decline in aging and promote brain health. (FP)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of the specialized medical literature, clinical guidelines and current studies and has been examined by medical professionals.
Diploma Editor (FH) Volker Plasik
- Rush University Medical Center: The Mind Diet Linked to Better Cognitive Performance (veröffentlicht: 20.09.2021), rush.edu
- Dana, Claudian; James, Brian; Agarwal, Pooja, et al: Mind diet, common brain diseases, and cognition in community-living elderly people; In: Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2021, content.iospress.com
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.