We know that what we eat is important for our overall health, but it may also affect the aging brain’s ability to function.
While these theories are still being studied and tested, researchers have found promising evidence in the Mediterranean and MIND (Mediterranean–DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diets.
Find below some information about foods that can possibly help prevent or delay Alzheimer’s and other age-related cognitive decline, as well as some evidence behind these theories:
The MIND Diet puts focus on plant-based foods linked to dementia prevention. The diet encourages eating from ten food groups:
- Leafy green vegetables- at least 6 servings a week
- Other vegetables- at least 1 serving a day
- Berries- at least 2 servings per week
- Whole grains- at least 3 servings per day
- Fish- 1 serving per week
- Poultry- 2 servings per week
- Beans- 3 servings per week
- Nuts- 5 servings per week
- Olive oil
Overall, this diet limits red meat, sweets, cheese, butter/margarine, and fast/fried food.
Although it is not fully proven that these types of diets can help reduce the risk of cognitive-decline related health issues, evidence does suggest that it can reduce risk of cognitive decline.
Find some of this evidence, gathered by the National Institute of Aging below:
- In an observational study of 116 cognitively normal adults, those who followed a Mediterranean diet had thicker cortical brain regions than those who did not. It seems that these regions shrink in people with Alzheimer’s, so thicker regions could mean cognitive benefit.
- An analysis of diet and other factors found that, after an average of 4.5 years, people who closely followed MIND diet had a 53% reduced rate of Alzheimer’s disease compared to those who did not follow the diet closely.
- In a similar study, following the MIND diet was associated with a substantial slowing of cognitive decline during an average of almost 5 years