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Under the microscope

What is the MIND diet? 

Under the microscope: Shutterstock

What is the MIND diet? 

MIND is short for Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. As the name suggests, it is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets.


What do these diets do?

Both have been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions, such as hypertension, heart attack and stroke. The hybrid diet is being studied by researchers at Rush University Medical Centre, Chicago, who are analysing whether it can substantially slow cognitive decline in stroke survivors.


What does it consist of?

It has 15 components, including 10 “brain-healthy food groups” and five unhealthy groups (red meat, butter, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food).


What do you need to do?

Eat at least three servings of whole grains a day, a green leafy vegetable and one other vegetable, along with a glass of wine. Snack most days on nuts, have beans every other day or so, eat poultry and berries at least twice a week and fish once a week.


Is it making headlines?

Yes. For the last 13 years, 106 participants with a history of stroke or cognitive decline have been monitored in a MIND diet study. The early findings were presented at the American Stroke Association’s 2018 International Stroke Conference. 


What did they show?

People whose diets scored highest on the MIND scale had a far slower rate of cognitive decline than those who scored lowest. Even after accounting for education and participation in cognitive and physical activities, the estimated effect of the diet remained strong. 

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