MIND diet adherence slowed onset Parkinson’s disease, study finds

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The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet may be associated with later onset of Parkinson's disease (PD), according to a new study published in the journal Movement Disorders.

The MIND diet, which combines aspects of the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, has been known for its neuroprotective effects for diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia.

For the study of 176 participants, researchers looked at adherence to these types of diets, characterized by reduced meat intake and a focus on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats, and the age of PD onset. They found that close adherence to these diets coincided with later onset of PD in women of up to 17.4 years, and 8.4 years in men. The MIND diet showed a more significant impact on women's health, whereas the Mediterranean diet did for the men. The differences in these two diets are subtle but could serve as clues to the impacts specific foods and micronutrients may have on brain health, the researchers said.

The different effects of diet adherence between sexes are noteworthy as approximately 60 percent of those diagnosed with Parkinson's disease are men, the study said. These findings springboard to other research questions that could have significant impacts on the understanding of PD.

The research team plans to further examine the potential connection between the microbiome and its effect on the brain.

“There is so much benefit to eating healthy," said Avril Metcalfe-Roach, a PhD student at UBC's Michael Smith Laboratories and lead author of the study, in a statement. "It is in everybody's best interest to try to keep your microbiome healthy, to try and eat a rich variety of plant-based and other healthy foods. This study provides even more evidence for what we already know—that we should be trying to eat healthy and taking care of ourselves.”