MIND Diet: what it is and what are its neuroprotective benefits

MIND Diet: what it is and what are its neuroprotective benefits

A new study found a strong correlation between that eating pattern and a delay in the onset of Parkinson’s. It has already recommended reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.


The MIND diet has long been advised to reduce the risk of some conditions as Alzheimer’s and senile dementia, due to its neuroprotective effects. But, now Canadian researchers have also found a strong correlation between following this dietary pattern and a delay in the onset of Parkinson’s disease.


The MIND diet combines aspects of two pretty popular diets, the Mediterranean one and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.


The study shows that people with Parkinson’s disease have a significantly later age of onset if their eating pattern is nearly aligned with the Mediterranean-type diet. The difference shown in the study occurred up to 17 years later in women and eight years later in men. Said Dr. Silke Appel-Cresswell, of the Division of Neurology at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Medicine in Canada.

There are no drugs to prevent or delay Parkinson’s disease, but, we are optimistic about this new evidence suggesting that nutrition may delay the condition starting point, she said.

The research

In a study with 176 participants, the researchers looked at adherence to this kind of diet, characterized by reduced meat intake. It also focuses on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats, and the lifetime onset of Parkinson’s condition.


They found that strict adherence to these diets coincided with a delay in origin up to 17.4 years in women and 8.4 years in men. The results were published in the journal Movement Disorders.


The MIND diet showed a more relevant effect on women’s health, while the Mediterranean diet only did so in men. The differences between the two are subtle but may serve as clues to the impacts that certain foods and micronutrients can have on brain health.


The researchers placed special attention on the different effects of diet adherence between the sexes since approximately 60% of those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease are men.


Only if we understand the gender differences between the MIND diet and the Mediterranean diet. Because of this, we can better understand the gender differences that drive Parkinson’s disease in the first place, said lead researcher Avril Metcalfe-Roach.

Brain-intestinal connection

The authors suggest that these findings are a springboard for other research questions that could have a significant impact on the understanding of Parkinson’s disease.


In the case of this disease, it strengthens the connection between the gut and the brain, Brett Finlay, a professor in UBC’s departments of biochemistry, and molecular biology and microbiology, and immunology said in a statement. It also shows that healthy eating can impact not only one but several cognitive diseases.


The team said it plans to examine in depth the possible connection between the microbiome (the intestinal microbe) and its effect on the brain.

There are many benefits to eating healthy, Metcalfe-Roach said. The best thing for everyone is to try to keep your microbiome healthy, try to eat a rich variety of plant foods and other healthy foods. This study provides even more evidence than we already know: that we should try to eat healthily and take care of ourselves, he concluded.

15 MIND guidelines

An article from the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, USA) specifies 15 guidelines for following the MIND diet:


  • At least three servings of whole grains a day.
  • Green leafy vegetables (like salad) at least six times a week.
  • Other vegetables, at least once a day.
  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) at least twice a week
  • Red meat, less than four times a week.
  • Fish at least once a week
  • Poultry at least twice a week
  • Vegetables, more than three times a week.
  • Nuts, at least five times a week.
  • Fried or fast food less than once a week.
  • Mainly olive oil for cooking.
  • Less than one tablespoon of butter or margarine per day.
  • Less than one serving of cheese per week.
  • Less than one serving of sweets per week
  • No more than one glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage per day. 

This content is published for informational purposes only and cannot replace the work of a professional. We recommend that you consult with your trusted specialized professional.

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