Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay

Are there choices that you could be making in your diet now that could slow cognitive decline and even reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease? A growing body of evidence is showing that this might be the case. Researchers from Rush University in Chicago created a hybrid of the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet resulting in the MIND diet or Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.  

The study followed over 900 participants ages 58-98 for a period of 4.5 years and in that time researches saw a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s in 53% in those strictly following the diet.  Not ready to commit?  Even in those participants following the diet only moderately well had a 35% risk reduction.

What’s Included in the Diet?

The MIND diet identifies 15 main components: 10 brain-healthy foods to include and 5 foods to avoid.  As you would expect being rooted in the Mediterranean and DASH diets, the MIND diet emphasizes plenty of vegetables, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats.  It limits added sugars, refined flours, and saturated fats.

10 Brain-Healthy Foods:

  • Leafy greens – 6 servings a week- With at least one additional serving of vegetables a day
  • Berries-  2 servings a week
  • Beans – 4 servings a week
  • Nuts – 5 servings per week
  • Whole grains – 3 servings a day
  • Fish – once a week
  • Poultry -twice a week
  • Red wine- one glass a day

 

5 Foods to Avoid While Following the MIND Diet:

  • Red meat – no more than 4 servings a week
  • Butter – no more than 1 ½ teaspoons a day
  • Pastries and sweets – no more than 5 servings a week
  • Fried and fast foods – less than 1 serving a week
  • Cheese – less than 1 serving a week

What Can You Do?

My take home from this? Next time you are working on putting together your weekly shopping list think about these 15 foods.  How often are you incorporating the “foods to avoid” and how often do you come close to meeting the recommendations for the “food to include”? If your ready to make some changes, start slow and focus on  1-2 things that you could add. Maybe picking up some frozen berries that you can work on adding to yogurt or oatmeal a couple mornings a week. Or try my 3 bean turkey chili recipe for a serving of both beans and poultry. Starting slow and picking one or two things to focus on at a time can help ensure you keep up the habit long term and that is likely what is going to make the largest difference. 

 

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