DOI: 10.1111/jhn.13223 ISSN:

Cognitive performance in relation to MIND and MEPA III dietary pattern accordance of NHANES participants

Samara Derdiger, Sophia Friedeborn, Christy C. Tangney
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)



There is growing evidence that Mediterranean‐DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) and Mediterranean‐like diets are associated with better cognitive performance.


In this cross‐sectional sample from two NHANES cycles (2011–2014), scores for the MIND dietary pattern (maximum score = 14) and for the Mediterranean Eating Pattern for Americans (MEPA) III (maximum score = 22) were calculated based on the reported foods consumed on two nonconsecutive 24‐h dietary recalls. Only adults with two completed recalls and cognitive testing were studied (n = 2598). Cognitive assessments included the word learning and recall components from the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease (CERAD), Animal Fluency test (AFT) and Digit Symbol Substitution Test.


The ages of participants were (mean ± SD) 69.2 ± 0.3 years, with almost equal proportions of men and women. MIND score was 5.0 ± 0.0, and MEPA III score was 8.6 ± 2.1. Positive associations between continuous MIND scores and education‐dependent standardised cognitive scores for each test and global cognition were observed, unadjusted or adjusted for covariates; no such associations were observed for MEPA III. Compared to adults in the lowest MIND tertile, those in the highest were less likely to exhibit low cognitive performance on the AFT [0.45 (0.29–0.69)], CERAD Delayed Recall [0.52 (0.32–0.83)] and global cognition [0.50 (0.27–0.94)]. Similar observations were noted with MEPA III with AFT [0.58 (0.43–0.79)] and CERAD Delayed Recall [0.66 (0.46–0.94)].


Older Americans were generally non‐accordant to MIND and MEPA III patterns. However, those who reported greater MIND or MEPA III diet accordance exhibited better cognitive performance.

More from our Archive