One of the best diets for heart health and reducing inflammation is the Mediterranean diet. A very close second is the MIND diet, a diet that combines the Mediterranean diet with the cardiovascular-conscious DASH diet. Together, the blood pressure lowering principles of the DASH diet and the naturally anti-inflammatory Mediterranean diet creates a nutritional plan that is scientifically known to improve brain health and reduce Alzheimer’s disease. New research has found that the MIND diet is also able to reduce Parkinson’s disease.
At the core of the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), reducing salt, fat, and sugar intake, along with avoiding red meat, is paired with a focus on lean meat, whole grain, vegetables, and berries. The Mediterranean diet favors whole grains, lean meats, beans, healthy fats such as olive oil, and fruits and vegetables. The emphasis of both diets on vegetables (especially the leafy greens of the DASH diet) and fruits provides antioxidants which help reduce the inflammation on the body and brain. The MIND diet has been hailed as one of the best ways to prevent neurodegeneration from disease likes Alzheimer’s, and now there is evidence to support that it can also help prevent Parkinson’s disease.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia gathered 176 volunteers in both men and women and looked for patterns in meat intake, healthy fats, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables at the age most commonly associated with the beginning of Parkinson’s disease. Those people that followed these types of eating patterns experienced a later onset of Parkinson’s disease—by up to 17.4 years later for women and 8.4 years later for men. It’s important to note that between men and women, 60% of cases diagnosed are in men.
When the two diets were compared (the Mediterranean diet versus the MIND diet), women experienced greater results from the MIND diet and men were more impacted by the Mediterranean diet. Researchers are now trying to discover what the key differences between the two are, and they believe it has a link to the gut microbiome and the brain.
Discuss these diets with your doctor to see if it's an important way for you to manage your risk of neurodegeneration.
Metcalfe‐Roach, A., Yu, A., Golz, E., Cirstea, M., Sundvick, K., Kliger, D., . . . Appel‐Cresswell, S. (2021, January 06). MIND and MEDITERRANEAN DIETS associated with later onset of Parkinson's disease. Retrieved February 15, 2021, from https://movementdisorders.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mds.28464