Mediterranean & MIND Diets May Reduce Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease (Plus 20 Recipes) by Ann Marie Patitucci
Thinking about trying the popular Mediterranean Diet? An interesting study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and published in March 2023 by Neurology, examined how closely 581 people followed the MIND and Mediterranean diets and whether there is a relationship to these diets and signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
The two diets are similar but the MIND diet emphasizes the importance of green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale as well as other vegetables. The Mediterranean diet, however, prioritizes vegetables, fruit (in particular berries) and three or more servings of fish per week. The MIND diet suggests consuming fish as well, though just one or more servings per week. Both diets recommend drinking wine, in small amounts.
According to the study, there is an association of regularly following these diets with fewer Alzheimer’s disease plaques and tangles. The study does not, however, establish a cause-and-effect relationship. Study author Dr. Puja Agarwal of RUSH University commented, “Improvement in people’s diets in just one area – such as eating more than six servings of green leafy vegetables per week, or not eating fried foods – was associated with fewer amyloid plaques in the brain...” Dr. Agarwal added that “following the MIND and Mediterranean diets may be one way that people can improve their brain health and protect cognition as they age.”
After adjusting for various factors, researchers found that study participants who “scored highest for adhering to the Mediterranean diet had average plaque and tangle amounts in their brains similar to being 18 years younger than people who scored lowest.” They also found that participants who “scored highest for adhering to the MIND diet had average plaque and tangle amounts similar to being 12 years younger than those who scored lowest.”
One finding in the study certainly made me think twice about what I should be eating and serving my family. I plan to make this easy addition to our weekly diet. According to Dr. Agarwal, “Our finding that eating more green leafy vegetables is in itself associated with fewer signs of Alzheimer’s disease in the brain is intriguing enough for people to consider adding more of these vegetables to their diet ... Future studies are needed to establish our findings further.”
Note: “Participants were mostly white, non-Hispanic and older so the results cannot be generalized to other populations.”
If you’d like to add some MIND of Mediterranean meals to your diet, we’ve got you covered. Check out these healthy, delicious recipes:
1. Mediterranean Poached Salmon: Moist, juicy and delicious, poached salmon is a healthy option for lunch or dinner. The salmon fillets cook in minutes without fat or oil. If you've never poached fish before, you're going to be amazed at how easy it is.
2. Mediterranean Baked Lemon Chicken: Lemon, olive oil, garlic and oregano pack these chicken breasts with extraordinary flavor. This easy Mediterranean chicken recipe is on the table in about 30 minutes and is the perfect addition to your healthy eating plans.
4. White Bean and Tuna Salad: Looking for a healthy way to enjoy what's already in your kitchen? This tasty tuna and white bean salad recipe is so easy, and uses healthy pantry ingredients. This easy recipe is a great addition to your healthy eating plan.
5. Kale and Quinoa Salad: This easy and delicious kale and quinoa salad recipe combines unexpected ingredients and textures, plus an amazing avocado dressing that is to die for.
6. Spiced Vanilla Oatmeal: Oatmeal is at the top of Mayo Clinic's list of cholesterol-reducing foods, and on the MIND and Mediterranean diet plans. Here's a delicious recipe for cinnamon vanilla oatmeal.
7. Baked Steelhead Trout: This easy baked steelhead trout recipe could not be any simpler. Really. Just two ingredients and 10 to 15 minutes in the oven and you have a healthy meal the whole family will enjoy.
8. Tuscan White Bean Soup: Want to be out of the kitchen and at the dinner or lunch table in about 20 minutes? This healthy white bean soup recipe has just a few simple ingredients, is packed with flavor and requires minimal prep.
9. Grilled Radishes: This radish recipe is so delicious, you (and even those picky eaters) will actually want to eat your vegetables.
10. Mediterranean Chopped Salad With Oregano Lemon Vinaigrette: This easy Mediterranean chopped salad recipe has a delicious 3-ingredient lemon oregano salad dressing.
11. Mediterranean Grilled Chicken: Anything that's Mediterranean just seems to be fresher and taste better, right? This easy grilled Mediterranean chicken recipe is marinated in Mediterranean flavors, seasoned with Mediterranean herbs and then topped with Mediterranean ingredients. How can this healthy chicken recipe not be good?
12. Buckwheat Breakfast Bowl: There's nothing better than the smell of the buckwheat simmering, coconut and cinnamon wafting through the air. Despite the name, there’s no wheat in here, so it’s gluten-free.
13.Oil-free Oregano Chimichurri: No oil? Oregano? Yes! This easy oregano chimichurri sauce has no oil and is a healthy way to add freshness to grilled meats, pasta, bruschetta or any recipe.
14. Pan-seared Halloumi: Halloumi is a semi-hard, unripe cheese made from sheep or goat milk (occasionally it is made from cow's milk).Halloumi is high in protein, calcium and other nutrients.
16. Mediterranean Egg White Breakfast Burritos: Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. This easy breakfast burrito recipe is made of a few simple healthy ingredients and is ready in about 15 minutes.
17. Lentil Spinach Soup: The food we eat is what powers our bodies – the better we eat, the better we look, feel and perform. Yet less than 5 percent of Americans are getting the recommended amount of fiber per day, a vital nutrient that can do many things from regulating blood sugar to lowering cholesterol to creating a healthy gut. To get more fiber in your diet, try this easy spinach lentil soup recipe.
18. Air Fryer Broccoli: This really may be the best broccoli you'll ever eat!
19. Grilled Sardines: If you only think of little fish in that rectangular tin when someone mentions sardines, then you haven't tried fresh grilled sardines. This easy grilled sardines recipe will change your mind – and possibly make you a sardine lover.
20. Mediterranean Grilled Eggplant and Tomato Salad With Parsley Parmesan Vinaigrette: Parsley adds a bright lift of flavor to the smoky grilled eggplant in this Mediterranean-style salad recipe. Not only is parsley a Blue Zone herb, but parsley also has health benefits. This is just one of the many ways you can incorporate more parsley into your healthy diet.
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