Observational Support

Several studies support these food choices, Dr. Seifan says. For example, a study published in Neurology in September 2014 found that adults who followed the DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diet or the Mediterranean diet—both of which emphasize eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and legumes, and limiting foods high in saturated fat and sugar—experienced slower cognitive decline as they aged. The study authors noted that past research has also linked these diets to a lower risk of high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, which are associated with dementia and cognitive decline.

And the MIND (or Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurocognitive Delay) diet was linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease even in people who didn’t follow it to the letter, according to a 2015 study published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia, the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. The MIND diet recommends eating at least three servings of whole grains; a salad, one other vegetable, and one glass of wine each day; beans and legumes such as lentils or chick peas every other day; poultry and berries at least twice a week; and some type of fish at least once a week.

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