MIND diet may reduce risk of dementia

May 16, 2023—The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet may reduce the risk of all-cause dementia among middle-aged and older adults, according to a new study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study, published May 3 in JAMA Psychiatry, was co-authored by Changzheng Yuan, adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition.

The MIND diet combines elements of the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, emphasizing plant-based foods (especially berries and leafy greens) and limited consumption of animal products and saturated fats. While the diet has previously been linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and slower cognitive decline, few studies have evaluated its impact on all-cause dementia, said Yuan in a May 8 article in MedicalResearch.com.

Researchers analyzed the diets and cognitive health of 242,185 middle-aged and older adults using data from three prospective cohort studies and a meta-analysis. Among 18,136 participants in the cohort studies, a stronger adherence to the MIND diet was associated with a lower risk of dementia—a link observed across the entire participant pool as well as within subgroups defined by sex, age, smoking status, and body mass index. Among participants in the meta-analysis—224,049 people across 11 cohort studies—the top third most closely adhering to the MIND diet had a lower risk of dementia compared to those in the bottom third who were following the diet less closely.

“The prevention of all-cause dementia is important as it poses substantial burdens on health care systems and threatens the well-being of older adults, and lack of effective treatments makes its prevention crucial,” Yuan said. “Based on the results of this study, we suggest that further investigations are needed to develop and refine the specific MIND diet for different populations.”

Read the MedicalResearch.com article: Adherence to MIND diet may reduce risk of all-cause dementia