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It’s a new year and with that comes a renewed commitment to health and healthy eating. If you are having trouble sorting through diets to separate fact from fad, new research is giving individuals one more reason to embrace the MIND diet.

An exciting new study from The University of British Columbia shows the MIND diet may be an effective tool to delay the onset of Parkinson’s disease.

The MIND diet combines the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. With its focus on vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, beans and whole grains, the Mediterranean diet, which allows for healthy fats and moderate amounts of dairy, poultry and eggs, has long been touted for its myriad health benefits, including reduced risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The DASH diet focuses on reducing sodium intake and upping consumption of foods rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium.

While MIND diet is linked with prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline, this new study is the first to suggest a correlation between the MIND diet and brain health specifically related to Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers looked at the adherence to these diets and the age of onset of Parkinson’s disease (PD) among 167 participants with PD and 119 controls. Overall, the MIND diet showed a more significant impact on delaying onset among women, while the Mediterranean diet did so for men.

The cross‐sectional study found “a strong correlation between age of onset of PD and dietary habits, suggesting that nutritional strategies may be an effective tool to delay PD onset. Further studies may help to elucidate potential nutrition‐related sex‐specific pathophysiological mechanisms and differential prevalence rates in PD.”

The is exciting research that opens up great possibilities, while also giving clinicians and patients another empowering tool for disease management.