Ok, since others are interested, I'll post a summary of the book "Diet for the Mind" by Martha Clare Morris. She is the lead researcher on the project. She has a PhD in nutritional epidemiology from Harvard and set up a program at Rush Univ called "Nutritional Medicine" to teach medical professionals about the role of diet in all the things they deal with. (I wish every medical school had such a program.) She has been the lead researcher on a couple of huge projects looking at diet and cognitive decline:
Note: If you go to buy the book, watch out for other similar titles. This is the only one by the researcher herself.
She is basing the book on 20 years of study in epidemiological nutrition (ie on other people's research) as well as her own, which resulted in the MIND diet. Her studies are all published in peer-reviewed journals. This book is for the lay person.
The book is well written, conveys scientific facts in a way that is accessible to a layperson and cites research. Many pluses!
She is lead researcher on these studies:
CHAP Chicago Health and Aging Project: started 1993; 10,000+ participants 65+. Evaluated every 3 years for healthy and lifestyle behaviors. Random # were also given neurological evals for Alzheimers.
MAP--the Memory and Aging Project 1800+ participants. All are evaluated annually for neurological conditions cognitive skills, and diet among other things. In this study, they give something like 19 cognitive tests annually to each participant.
Both studies have shown associations between people who did or did not have elements of the MIND diet in their daily nutrition. ( My understanding is that the researchers had the raw dietary info and looked for certain things such as consumption of green leafy veges, etc. to score each participant.) They are currently doing a randomized clinical trial to discern causation.
The MIND diet is based on the DASH and Mediterranean diets, which have had randomized clinical trials establishing an effect on dementia risk. What the MIND diet does is attempt to distill the key elements of both. My understanding is they used other research literature that identified specific food categories.
It's pretty simple:
- Green leafy vegetable . The research on the effects of GLVs is very solid.
- Another vegetable per day. (Minimum of one other. She recommends more. Cruciferous also have shown a positive effect on dementia risk)
- Whole grains :3 servings She bases her recommendation on the fact that whole grains have definitely been shown to reduce cardio risk factors and cardio and dementia track together. Specifically, numerous studies have demonstrated decreased inflammation , decrease oxidative stress, decreased cardio conditions/type 2 diabetes. Also, the PREDIMED trial assigned 7447 participants to Mediterranean + extra olive oil, Mediterranean +nuts and low fat control group. The Mediterranean conditions both included 3 servings of whole grains. Both Med diet groups were found to have better cognitive scores at the end of 6 1/2 years than the low-fat group. That doesn't prove that grains are the cause, but they didn't impair the improvement. (Note: Perlmutter wrote a book called Grain Brain that recommended avoiding grain. I read it a while back and noted that nearly every study he cited was a mouse study. Given that they have "cured" Alzheimer's multiple times in lab rats and mice and none of it has translated into humans, I took it with a grain (haha) of salt. But the idea is out there. She recommends that if you are worried about gluten sensitivity to choose other whole grains )
- Oils from plant sources: specifcally, Extra virgin Olive oil,
Foods to eat 1+ times per week:
- Berries--have a long research base of improving cognitive skills. At least 1 cup per week. More is probably better. Other fruits are fine & healthy for other reasons, but have no specific research to recommend them for dementia prevention.
- Nuts: 1 oz 2-5 times per week
- Seafood: once per week. More is fine. There is an effect at one serving, though so more may not be necessary.
- Poultry: No direct research of effect on the brain, but part of both the Mediterranean and DASH diets, so 2+ servings per week.
- Beans & other legumes: at least four 1/2 c servings
I'm out of time. I'll post again with what foods to keep to a minimum later.
Jury is still out on caffeine. No negative effects, possibly some positive ones.
Jury still out on coconut oil. Currently, there is a large scale randomized clinical trial going on.
Fried and fast food: "Saturated and trans fat have been directly associated with dementia risk in multiple large prospective studies.' I believe these studies showed correlation not causation. (I'm not sure it would be ethical to randomly assign people to eat trans fats as part of a research study.) from the CHAP study: Those whose saturated fat consumption was 25 g per day or more had 2-3 x the risk of developing emention over a 4 year period. Participants consuming 2 g or more of trans fats were 3-5 x more likely to develop Alzheimer's.
Mammal meat: the recommendation to limit is based on its limited use in the Mediterranean and DASH diets and concern about the impact of too much saturated fat. She says no more than 3 servings per week.
Eggs: Not really a problem; limit only if you need to because they contribute to a high saturated fat intake or if you are part of the tiny percentage of the population who is hypersensitive to dietary cholesterol intake.
ButterL No more than 1 1/2 tsp per day (1 pat) No stick margarine. Recommends using olive oil on bread instead of butter.
Cheese: 1-2 servings per week of whole fat cheeses. Her concern again, seems to be the amount of saturated fat. She was previously a big cheese eater, but now confines herself to a serving of feta or goat cheese in her salads. She suggests replacing whole fat cheeses with lower fat ones if you must have cheese.
Pastries & Sweets: She states there is little direct evidence on sugar and cognitive status,but because sugar spikes blood sugar which leads to inflammation and damaged arteries, and raises the risk of cardiovascular disease, she recommends limiting it to no more than 5 servings per week.
AGEs: Advanced Glycation End products: AGEs are formed by cooking with high and especially dry high heat, especially animal derived foods. (Marinating helps decrease these significantly) Packaged and highly processed sugary foods are another source. High levels of AGE are formed with health conditions that promote high blood sugar and oxidative stress.
Also ETA: the book has what appear to be excellent recipes. My only gripe was a lot of the breakfast recipes contained added sugar. Not much, but not necessary.
Amira: very briefly: exercise for cognitive prevention: cardio that raises your heart rate/affects breathing for at least 150 min/ week. Strength training 2+ x per week. Tai Chi may have an effect. No effect for yoga that I've seen. (Doesn't mean it's not a good exercise practice, just that it doesn't seem to delay dementia) One large meta-study found no effect. I can post more links to studies on that too. I'm very focused on keeping up with that literature because of our famlly history and can copy and paste from my Word doc files.
Edited by Laurie4b, 03 January 2018 - 02:08 PM.