A new study has shown that people who follow the Mediterranean or MIND diet, have reduced signs of Alzheimer’s in the brain tissue.

The MIND diet is short of Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention of Neurodegenerative Delay and is a hybrid of the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and the Mediterranean diet.  It focuses on plant-based foods that are minimally processed and limits animal-based foods that are high in saturated fats and foods with added sugars. The diet also recommends portion control.

Based on the study’s results, people who closely followed either diet had almost 40% less signs associated with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.  The key signs for Alzheimer’s are an increased number of sticky beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brain.  Specifically, for those who followed the Mediterranean diet had an average number of plaques and tangles in their brain similar to that of a person 18 years younger.  For those who followed the MIND diet had a number similar to those of a person 12 years younger.

Even if you are not consistent followers of these diets, adding just one food group (vegetables or fruit for example) from either diet reduced the build up of plaques and tangles to being about four years younger.  This shows that adding more healthy food (greens, berries, whole grains, olive oil, fish, etc.) to your diet can reduce the risk of dementia as you are growing old.