MIND Diet May Not Be Not as Beneficial as Promised

Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay or MIND diet was designed to aid brain health. The results of a highly anticipated study on the helpfulness of the diet surprised the researchers.

We really expected that the MIND diet would show an effect above the control group, so we were quite surprised by the outcome,” said lead study author Lisa Barnes, associate director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Rush Univ.

The good news is that people who followed the MIND diet for three years had improvements. MRI scans showed both more grey and white matter and fewer lesions. However, people in the control group showed the same results. They had the same improvements to the same degree.

At the start of the study, no one had cognitive impairment. However, all the participants had a family history of dementia. Everyone had a BMI above 25 and a poor diet.

Some scientists disagreed with the result of the study. Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard pointed out that diet studies must be long to see results and that three years might be too short.

Dr. Barnes pointed out that people’s diets change. People in the control group were eating healthier and losing weight. They were told to “eat as they always had” but cut 250 calories daily. However, despite being told to eat their regular diet, eating patterns shift.

In the end, Dr. Barnes said, “My takeaway is that regardless of the type, a healthy diet does seem to improve cognitive function.”

Dr. David Katz, a preventive and lifestyle medicine specialist, said that people in control groups of nutrition studies realize that they are in the control group but are motivated to be healthier. By joining the study, they learned that a better diet could aid the brain, then they may have taken steps to help themselves. He said this study didn’t disprove that MIND helps the brain; it just failed to prove it.

The MIND diet calls for three servings of whole grains and one serving of non-leafy green vegetables a day. In the course of a week, you eat six servings of leafy greens a week, five servings of nuts, four servings of beans, two servings of berries, at least two servings of poultry and at least one serving of fish. It also calls for using olive oil. The healthy oils, fiber and lean protein supposedly lower inflammation in the brain.

Following a healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet, MIND or DASH, can help you live a healthier, longer life and aid brain health. Without a longer, more controlled study, we can’t say that MIND is the best for brain health.

Banner image: Toa Heftiba via Unsplash

Related Posts

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Please check your email to confirm your subscription.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form
By clicking the "Subscribe" button you agree to our newsletter policy