Dietary patterns and cognition in older persons

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Purpose of review

The current article reviews recently published evidence of the important role that specific dietary patterns may hold on preventing cognitive impairment and dementia over aging.

Recent findings

Specific dietary patterns attributed to targeting cardiovascular risk factors may protect against the development of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia, especially Alzheimer's disease. Numerous epidemiological studies have strongly suggested that multinutrient approaches using the Mediterranean diet (Med diet), dietary approach to systolic hypertension (DASH) and the Mediterranean-DASH diet intervention for neurodegenerative delay (MIND) are associated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment, MCI and Alzheimer's disease in older persons. This multinutrient approach seems to hold better outcomes than single nutrient intervention. There is only one randomized clinical trial (PREDIMED study) showing an improvement in cognitive performance over time in those undergoing a Med diet protocol.


Nutrition is an essential and modifiable risk factor that plays a role on preventing and/or delaying the onset of dementia. There is sufficient evidence to hypothesize testing neuroprotective dietary patterns on cognition in randomized clinical trials in older persons. Healthy dietary patterns such as the Med diet, DASH and MIND deserve further attention in randomized clinical trials on cognitive performance outcomes.

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