The Mediterranean and dash diets have been shown to slow cognitive decline; however, neither diet is specific to the nutrition literature on dementia prevention.
We devised the Mediterranean-Dietary Approach to Systolic Hypertension (DASH) diet intervention for neurodegenerative delay (MIND) diet score that specifically captures dietary components shown to be neuroprotective and related it to change in cognition over an average 4.7 years among 960 participants of the Memory and Aging Project.
In adjusted mixed models, the MIND score was positively associated with slower decline in global cognitive score (β = 0.0092; P < .0001) and with each of five cognitive domains. The difference in decline rates for being in the top tertile of MIND diet scores versus the lowest was equivalent to being 7.5 years younger in age.
The study findings suggest that the MIND diet substantially slows cognitive decline with age. Replication of these findings in a dietary intervention trial would be required to verify its relevance to brain health.