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You already know that your diet has a huge impact on your health, affecting everything from cholesterol to your weight, but did you know it might also impact your mind? A recent study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal, Alzheimer’s & Dementia, shows that some diets may actually help prevent Alzheimer’s disease by more than half.

For the study, researchers from Rush University Medical Center, and Harvard School of Public Health, looked at whether following one of three diets affected your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease:

  • A standard Mediterranean-type diet
  • The Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension diet (DASH) – designed to reduce blood pressure
  • Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) – this combines elements of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet

And the results were definitive. The study showed that older people who followed any of the three diets were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. And those following the MIND diet had a 52% reduction in risk. That’s huge. The theories of the links between diet and Alzheimers are still uncertain. However, the Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce stroke, heart attack and diabetes – chronic conditions which are associated with Alzheimer’s.

What are those foods? According to WebMD:

  • Green leafy vegetables (like spinach and salad greens): At least six servings a week
  • Other vegetables: At least one a day
  • Nuts: Five servings a week
  • Berries: Two or more servings a week
  • Beans: At least three servings a week
  • Whole grains: Three or more servings a day
  • Fish: Once a week
  • Poultry (like chicken or turkey): Two times a week
  • Olive oil: Use it as your main cooking oil.
  • Wine: One glass a day

It’s important to note that this study did not show that the diets protected against Alzheimer’s, but it does show that there is a strong link between eating a healthy diet and a lower risk of developing the disease. And there is compelling evidence that eating the foods themselves confer the benefit. Don’t expect any pill supplement to provide the same benefit, anytime soon.

HORIZONS

About Nick Popio

Nick Popio is a social media communications specialist at BCBSNC. He is passionate about helping others connect and engage in meaningful conversation and striving to make healthcare more transparent for everyone.

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