There is a type of diet much studied by science, called the MIND diet, useful for reducing age-related cognitive decline and the risk of developing Alzheimer's. And from today we know that the MIND diet, which is not a real diet where you eat little to lose weight but consists of guidelines to protect the brain through nutrition, also helps reduce visceral fat, blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar. But let's try to understand better by analyzing the results of a very recent research published in the journal Nutrition Research by a group of American scientists (Holthaus et al, Nutr Res, 2023).
MIND diet, what it is
We all know the Mediterranean diet, considered the cornerstone of healthy eating and one of the secrets of long life. In reality, over the years, other types of diet have been developed, such as the DASH diet, considered beneficial for blood pressure control, and, precisely, the MIND diet. The MIND diet is a hybrid between the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, it was developed by scientists at Rush and Harvard University and has demonstrated a particularly protective action on the brain and prevention of neurodegeneration. The guidelines of the MIND diet are therefore very similar to those we already know, with the use of extra virgin olive oil and a high intake of foods of vegetable origin, with at least 3 portions a day of whole grains, at least 2 portions a day of vegetables, including one of green leafy vegetables, 5 portions per week of nuts, 4 portions per week of legumes, and a limited intake of foods of animal origin and containing saturated fats, such as red meat, less than 4 portions per week, desserts, less than 5 portions per week, cheese and fried foods, less than one portion per week, butter and margarine, less than a spoonful per day. Poultry is provided at least twice a week. In addition, the characteristic of the MIND diet is that this type of diet, unlike the Mediterranean diet, specifically recommends including berries in one's diet, at least two portions a week. Finally, the MIND diet recommends a moderate intake of fish, at least one portion a week as opposed to the greater quantity required by the Mediterranean diet.
MIND diet against visceral fat
The Mediterranean diet has been studied specifically for the brain and has demonstrated important beneficial properties, reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer's. Instead, to date, no study had been conducted to verify the effectiveness of this type of diet in relation to visceral fat and other parameters such as blood pressure and blood sugar. For this purpose, American scientists recruited 163 adults. Study participants had to fill out a questionnaire in which they were asked to specify their eating habits. In this way it was possible for the scientists to evaluate the degree of adherence of the volunteers to the MIND diet, the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. Then, all study participants underwent doctor visits to measure the presence of visceral fat, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides. Well, what has emerged is that, among all types of diet, only a high degree of adherence to the MIND diet has made it possible to reduce visceral fat, waist circumference and all controlled parameters, such as blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure and triglycerides. The DASH diet allowed a reduction in waist circumference, triglycerides and blood pressure, while the Mediterranean diet increased good cholesterol and reduced blood pressure and visceral fat.
Here is an excellent piece of news for everyone. Following the MIND diet guidelines not only helps protect the brain, reduces cognitive decline and the risk of Alzheimer's as we age, but also protects the heart and reduces inflammation, through the reduction of visceral fat, waist circumference and important parameters for assessing cardiovascular health, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar.