You may want to consider adding more berries and green leaves to the meals you eat on a daily basis. A recent study found that people who consume a more plant-based Mediterranean diet showed fewer signs of Alzheimer's disease.

The National Institute on Aging said a brain that is being infected with Alzheimer's in the early stages will show “abnormal buildups of proteins that form amyloid plaques and tau tangles. Previously healthy neurons stop functioning, lose connections with other neurons, and die.”

People who consume a plant-based or MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet showed 40% lower odds of getting the disease, according to a study posted in the journal Neurology.

The Mediterranean diet focuses on “vegetables, fruit and three or more servings of fish per week,” while the MIND diet prioritizes “green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and collard greens along with other vegetables.” It also prioritizes “berries over other fruit and recommends one or more servings of fish per week,” a release on the study says. 

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The research for the study “examined the brains of 581 people who each donated their body as part of the Memory and Aging Project at Rush University. The project, which began in 1997, has been collecting yearly diet information on participants since 2004. ... The current study analyzed diet data from 2014, for an average of six to seven years, and then compared that information with the number of plaques and tangles in each person’s brain at autopsy,” according to CNN.

“People who scored highest for adhering to the Mediterranean diet had average plaque and tangle amounts in their brains similar to being 18 years younger than people who scored lowest,” according to the study’s background material. “Researchers also found people who scored highest for adhering to the MIND diet had average plaque and tangle amounts similar to being 12 years younger than those who scored lowest.”

Study author Puja Agarwal said, “Doing a simple dietary modification, such as adding more greens, berries, whole grains, olive oil and fish, can actually delay your onset of Alzheimer’s disease or reduce your risk of dementia when you’re growing old.”

“While this study doesn’t definitively prove that it’s possible to slow brain aging through dietary choices, the data are compelling enough for me to add green leafy vegetables to most of my meals, and to suggest the Mediterranean-style diet for my patients at risk,” Alzheimer’s disease researcher Dr. Richard Isaacson, a preventive neurologist at the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases of Florida, who is not a part of the study, told CNN.

The study did have limitations. Participants were mostly white, non-Hispanic and older, so the results “cannot be generalized to other populations,” CBS News reported. According to the study, those who didn’t stick to the diet perfectly but followed it “moderately well” reduced their risk of Alzheimer’s by about a third.