The so-called Mediterranean diet has been getting a lot of favorable attention lately. Natural, unstructured and definitely not a fad, it’s simply the kind of food that people eat traditionally in that part of the world. As a result, studies show conclusively that they often enjoy longer, healthier, better quality lives than in many other regions.
Another regime that has been getting good press is the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which was devised specifically to counteract the modern plague of high blood pressure.
Now a seven-year research program has shown that a combination of the two – which the researchers have called the MIND diet – not only helps lower the risk of heart attack, stroke and hypertension, but also seems to help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
A group of nearly 1,000 elderly Chicago residents had their health and dietary intake monitored from 2004 to 2013. One of the survey’s findings was that people who adhered even moderately to the MIND diet had a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s than other groups did – as much as 35% lower.
The researchers were heartened to find that the diet only needed to be followed moderately, whereas the Mediterranean and DASH diets need to be followed rigorously to register any real health benefits.
So what does MIND consist of? You probably won’t be surprised to know that green and other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine all make it onto the recommended list. Red meats, butter, cheese, pastries, sweets, fried and fast food don’t.
But unlike the DASH and Mediterranean diets, which recommend plenty of all fruits, the MIND diet focuses especially on berries. This has led the researchers to think that, with blueberries and strawberries, they may have come up with a real magic bullet in the fight against Alzheimer’s.