There’s fresh thinking out on late life memory loss issues and its good news. According to a recent study, a hybrid of two eating plans – which have been termed the MIND diet – is associated with a significantly lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

What’s better is that the findings hold true even if you don’t follow the diet strictly. Small improvements in eating can be enough to have some effect.

Along with elements from the Mediterranean and DASH diets, the MIND diet includes specific foods and nutrients found in past studies to be linked to good brain health. The diet’s 10 “brain-healthy food groups” include a common mix of healthy ingredients: green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, berries, nuts, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine.

The plan, predictably enough, also advises that five unhealthy food groups – red meat, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food – be cut back.

The findings also showed that the longer a person follows the MIND diet, the greater the protection from Alzheimer’s disease.

While this observational study shows promise for reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s, it doesn’t prove cause and effect. The results need further verification by randomized controlled trials, the gold-standard evidence for showing a cause-and-effect relationship.

The findings add to a growing body of evidence that strongly suggests your overall dietary pattern matters more than any one single nutrient when it comes to Alzheimer’s prevention.

Eating a combination of healthy foods that deliver a wide range of protective nutrients while, at the same time, minimizing your intake of foods that may hurt brain cells is what counts.

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