MIND-Diet Can Enhance Attention in Preadolescents, Study Shows

In Education

The MIND diet, initially designed to prevent dementia in older adults, has been found to enhance focus in young students as well. University of Illinois researchers have discovered that this eating plan could improve attention among pre-adolescents.

MIND emphasizes on vegetables fruits and legumes

It is important to note that the MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) emphasizes fresh fruits, legumes, and vegetables like the Mediterranean and DASH diets. It includes brain-healthy foods such as leafy greens and berries. Though effective for adults, there is limited research on its impact on children.

The latest study investigated two diets: The Healthy Eating Index – 2015 (HEI-2015) and the MIND diet, a blend of Mediterranean and DASH diets.

Postdoctoral fellow at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Department of Kinesology and Community Health Shelby Keye said they assessed how following the diets was related with preadolescents’ attention inhibition which is the ability to resist distracting stimuli and only fund that MIND diet was positively correlated with performance on tasks assessing attention inhibition. Keye said that findings suggest that the MIND diet may potentially enhance preadolescent’s cognitive development which ultimately leads to school success.

The study used data initially collected through a cross-section study headed by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign professor Naiman Khan in which the participants in the study ranged from 7-11 years. Researchers in the study had asked subjects to complete a seven-day diet record that the researchers used in determining MIND and HEI-2015 diet scores.

MIND diet has positive impact on attention inhibition

The study assessed attention inhibition in participants, who completed a task measuring executive control and spatial attention. Children with neurological disorders (ADHD or autism) were excluded from the study to minimize confounding factors.

Interestingly, researchers found that MIND diet score had a positive correlation to the study subjects accuracy on the tsk but not the HEI-2015 scores. Researchers found that participants who followed the MIND diet performed better on a task, but they emphasize that this shows only an association, not a direct link. Further research is needed through intervention studies to establish a conclusive connection.

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