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MIND diet may slow brain aging by 7.5 years

5 August 2015

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Eating a group of specific foods may slow cognitive decline among aging adults, even when the person is not at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to researchers at Rush University Medical Center, in a study recently published online in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.

The MIND diet, which is short for “Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay,” is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. Both have been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions, like hypertension, heart attack and stroke.

Alzheimer’s disease is now the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., which accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Delaying dementia’s onset by just five years can reduce the cost and prevalence by nearly half.

The MIND diet has 15 dietary components, including 10 “brain-healthy food groups” and five “unhealthy groups” to avoid — red meat, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.A person would need to eat at least three servings of whole grains, a green leafy vegetable and one other vegetable every day — along with a glass of wine (or red-grape juice) — snack most days on nuts, have beans every other day or so, eat poultry and berries at least twice a week and fish at least once a week. In addition, he or she must limit intake of butter (less than 1 tablespoon a day), sweets and pastries, whole fat cheese, and fried or fast food (less than a serving a week for any of the three).

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