Local researchers study diet designed to prevent Alzheimer’s, dementia

WSVN — What if changing what you eat now could prevent getting diseases like Alzheimer’s in the future? 7’s Lynn Martinez has more on the MIND Diet doctors are calling a no-brainer.

Yvonne Morten just turned 83 years young. She walks several times a week.

Yvonne Morten: "I do my yoga in the morning."

And stands on her head every day! She’s in good shape, physically and mentally.

Yvonne Morten: "I seem to remember appointments. I’m still playing a fairly good game of bridge."

Yvonne has followed a healthy diet for the past 50 years.

Yvonne Morten: "Now I do the miso soup, I put rice in it, I put all the vegetables in."

She believes what you eat can affect your quality of life as you age, and having seen some friends die from diseases like Alzheimer’s, she refuses to go down the same path.

Yvonne Morten: "The way they’ve gone is not the way I want to go."

So, can changing what we eat now keep our brains sharp in the future? Researchers at Nova Southeastern University are testing what’s being called the MIND Diet.

Cecilia Rokusek, Nutritionist, Nova Southeastern University: "People who followed this Mediterranean diet — which is high in nuts, high in olive oil, high in fruits and vegetables, very low in red meat — had a much lower incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease."

In fact, a Rush University Medical Center study found that people who followed the MIND Diet cut their risk of developing Alzheimer’s in half.

Dr. Naushira Pandya, Geriatrician, Nova Southeastern University: "The results were striking."

Doctors say prevention is key, because the number of Alzheimer’s cases is on the rise.

Dr. Naushira Pandya: "Every 67 seconds, somebody develops Alzheimer’s."

NSU nutritionist Cecilia Rokusek says the MIND Diet is easy to follow. There are three basic food groups. First, fill your plate with greens at least six times a week.

Cecilia Rokusek: "Incorporating a kale salad one day, incorporating spinach one day, incorporating steamed spinach."

Next, eat lean protein, like chicken, and at least three fish servings per week. But you do have to cut back on red meat.

Cecilia Rokusek: "Probably not having red meat more than two to three times a week."

Snacking is not only allowed but encouraged, as long as it’s the right snack.

Cecilia Rokusek: "Blueberries is the magic food of the 21st century."

And nuts are good, too, in moderation.

Cecilia Rokusek: "About a fourth of a cup, I recommend once a day."

Even wine is on the list, thanks to the antioxidants.

Cecilia Rokusek: "We recommend that everyone have a six-ounce glass of red wine every day.

Researchers say people who followed the MIND Diet had the brain function of someone seven and a half years younger.

In the Plex, Lynn Martinez, 7News.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

MIND Diet
https://www.rush.edu/news/diet-may-help-prevent-alzheimers

Nova Southeastern University
http://osteopathic.nova.edu/ms-nutrition/index.html