Dietary Patterns and Cognitive Health in Older Adults: A Systematic Review.J Alzheimers Dis. 2019; 67(2):583-619.JA
While the role of diet and nutrition in cognitive health and prevention of dementia in older adults has attracted much attention, the efficacy of different dietary patterns remains uncertain. Previous reviews have mainly focused on the Mediterranean diet, but either omitted other dietary patterns, lacked more recent studies, were based on cross-sectional studies, or combined older and younger populations. We followed PRISMA guidelines, and examined the efficacy of current research from randomized controlled trials and cohort studies on the effects of different dietary patterns. We reviewed the Mediterranean diet, Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, the Mediterranean-DASH diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet, Anti-inflammatory diet, Healthy diet recommended by guidelines via dietary index, or Prudent healthy diets generated via statistical approaches, and their impact on cognitive health among older adults. Of 38 studies, the Mediterranean diet was the most investigated with evidence supporting protection against cognitive decline among older adults. Evidence from other dietary patterns such as the MIND, DASH, Anti-inflammatory, and Prudent healthy diets was more limited but showed promising results, especially for those at risk of cardiovascular disease. Overall, this review found positive effects of dietary patterns including the Mediterranean, DASH, MIND, and Anti-inflammatory diets on cognitive health outcomes in older adults. These dietary patterns are plant-based, rich in poly- and mono-unsaturated fatty acids with lower consumption of processed foods. Better understanding of the underlying mechanisms and effectiveness is needed to develop comprehensive and practical dietary recommendations against age-related cognitive decline among older adult.