Researchers evaluated over 900 seniors and then noted the incidences of Alzheimer’s of those seniors over a 5 year period. They found that those seniors who followed the MIND diet reduced their risk of developing Alzheimer's by as much as 53% and when it was not followed rigorously it still reduced the disease by as much as 35%. Researchers believe that people who follow the diet for years will get the best protection from Alzheimer’s.
The MIND diet is comprised of 15 elements, 10 brain-healthy food groups and 5 unhealthy groups.
The 10 brain-healthy food groups include:
Green, leafy vegetables: Aim for six or more servings per week. This includes kale, spinach, cooked greens and salads.
All other vegetables: Try to eat another vegetable in addition to the green leafy vegetables at least once a day. It is best to choose non-starchy vegetables because they have more nutrients with low calories.
Berries: Eat berries at least twice a week. You should consume berries like blueberries, raspberries and blackberries for their antioxidant benefits.
Nuts: Try to get five servings of nuts or more each week. The creators of the MIND diet don’t specify what kind of nuts to consume, but it is probably best to vary the type of nuts you eat to obtain a variety of nutrients.
Olive oil: Use olive oil as your main cooking oil.
Whole grains: Aim for at least three servings daily. Choose whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and 100% whole-wheat bread.
Fish: Eat fish at least once a week. It is best to choose fatty fish like salmon, sardines, trout, tuna and mackerel for their high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
Beans: Include beans in at least four meals every week. This includes all beans, lentils and soybeans.
Poultry: Try to eat chicken or turkey at least twice a week. Note: fried chicken is not encouraged on the MIND diet.
Wine: Aim for no more than one glass daily. Both red and white wine may benefit the brain. However, much research has focused on the red wine compound resveratrol, which may help protect against Alzheimer’s.
Butter and margarine: Try to eat less than 1 tablespoon (about 14 grams) daily. Instead, try using olive oil as your primary cooking fat, and dipping your bread in olive oil with herbs.
Cheese: The MIND diet recommends limiting your cheese consumption to less than once per week.
Red meat: Aim for no more than three servings each week. This includes all beef, pork, lamb and products made from these meats.
Fried food: The MIND diet highly discourages fried food, especially the kind from fast-food restaurants. Limit your consumption to less than once per week.
Pastries and sweets: This includes most of the processed junk food and desserts you can think of. Ice cream, cookies, brownies, snack cakes, donuts, candy and more. Try to limit these to no more than three times a week.
Researchers encourage limiting your consumption of these foods because they contain saturated fats and trans fats. Studies have found that trans fats are clearly associated with all sorts of diseases, including heart disease and even Alzheimer’s disease.