There are many paths to healing
A diet rich in green leafy vegetables, beans, berries, whole grains and wine can help to slow normal brain aging and cognitive decline, showed a study at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
Elderly adults who strictly followed the MIND diet (see below for the details on this diet) were 7.5 years younger cognitively over a period of nearly five years than those who adhered the least.
"The study findings suggest that the MIND diet substantially slows cognitive decline with age," Martha Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center, and her team said in a report in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia.
In an earlier study, the researchers showed that the diet developed at the Rush University Medical Center may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
MIND, or Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, is a hybrid of the Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil and vegetables and the DASH eating plan designed to control high blood pressure.
This diet calls for at least three servings of whole grains, a salad and another vegetable each day and a glass of wine. Beans and poultry should be eaten at least twice a week and fish once a week. The only fruits in the MIND diet are berries.
Unhealthy foods which should be very limited include red meat, butter, stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets and fried or fast food.
The researchers tested the cognitive ability of 960 adults with an average age of 81.4 years at 40 retirement community and senior public housing units in the Chicago area over a period of 4.7 years. They uncovered a slower decline in mental ability among the elderly who adhered most closely to the diet.
"There is still a great deal of study we need to do in this area, and I expect that we'll make further modifications as the science on diet and the brain advances."
Edited from a Reuters article published by the Psych Congress Network.