Aging takes a toll on the body and on the mind.
For example, the tissue of aging human brains sometimes develops abnormal clumps of proteins that are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
In a study from Rush University Medical Center, scientists found that older adults may benefit from a specific diet called the MIND diet even when they develop protein deposits, known as amyloid plaques and tangles.
Plaques and tangles are a pathology found in the brain that builds up in between nerve cells and typically interfere with thinking and problem-solving skills.
The MIND diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets.
Previous research studies have found that the MIND diet may reduce a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
In the current study, researchers found that participants who followed the MIND diet moderately later in life did not have cognition problems.
They examined the associations of diet—from the start of the study until death—brain pathologies and cognitive functioning in older adults who participated in the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center’s ongoing Memory and Aging Project, which began in 1997 and includes people living in greater Chicago.
The participants were mostly white without known dementia, and all of them agreed to undergo annual clinical evaluations while alive and brain autopsy after their death.
The researchers followed 569 participants, who were asked to complete annual evaluations and cognitive tests to see if they had developed memory and thinking problems.
They found that a higher MIND diet score was associated with better memory and thinking skills independently of Alzheimer’s disease pathology and other common age-related brain pathologies.
The diet seemed to have a protective capacity and may contribute to cognitive resilience in the elderly.
Diet changes can impact cognitive functioning and the risk of dementia, for better or worse.
There are fairly simple diet and lifestyle changes a person could make that may help to slow cognitive decline with aging, and contribute to brain health.
If you care about nutrition, please read studies about food that can help control waist size, blood pressure and blood sugar, and this common food oil in the U.S. can change genes in the brain.
For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about natural food supplement that could relieve anxiety, and results showing this type of food may help control blood pressure.
The study was conducted by Klodian Dhana et al and published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
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