Chew on This

MIND diet may help stave off Alzheimer’s


What would you do to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease? Probably a lot considering this devastating illness, without a cure, progressively steals memories and abilities.

And would you be more interested if this risk reduction was relatively easy and tasty? If your answer is yes, then the MIND diet is worth learning about.

The aptly named MIND food pattern is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH diets. Research on the MIND diet, conducted at Rush University in Chicago, was recently published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia. Study participants were 923 adults with an average age of 80. They were studied over 4.7 years, and 16 percent of the subjects developed Alzheimer’s disease.

But study subjects who most strictly followed the MIND diet were 7 1/2 years younger cognitively and had a 53 percent reduction in developing Alzheimer’s disease, compared with those who had the lowest rate of adhering to the diet. The strict MIND adherents also had lower rates of diabetes, hypertension and stroke. And interestingly they had a higher calorie intake but a lower BMI.

The diet consists of at least three servings a day of whole grains, daily leafy greens plus one other vegetable, beans and poultry a few times a week, nuts at least five times a week, fish at least once a week and a daily glass of wine or alcohol. Limited foods are butter, stick margarine, cheese, sweets, fat, red meat and fried foods. Berries are the only recommended fruit. The primary oil is olive. This is an eating pattern that reduces inflammation, oxidative stress and insulin resistance.

The MIND pattern differs from the Mediterranean with its recommendation for daily greens, emphasis on berries and it does not specify high fruit consumption or dairy.

Adding berries to steel cut oatmeal in the morning, snacking on almonds, lunching on a spinach salad loaded with veggies and beans and dinner of a favorite fish with a side of quinoa and asparagus sounds delicious and is completely MIND full.

For more on MIND eating, visit

Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Follow @sheahrarback on Twitter.