A daily vino habit—part of a new diet, combining the Mediterranean diet and DASH diet—can delay Alzheimer's disease by how long?!

By Rachael Schultz
Corbis Images

Here's news worth toasting to: Drinking a glass of red wine every day can help keep your brain healthy down the road for as many as seven and a half extra years, reports a new study in Alzheimer's & Dementia.

Researchers have long known that what you put in your mouth can have a significant effect on your body and brain. Two of the healthiest diets to adhere to? The Mediterranean diet-which has been tied to everything from glowing skin to delayed aging-and the DASH diet, named the best overall diet four years in a row.

Researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago wanted to see how both of these acclaimed eating regimens would hold up in preventing dementia, so they married the two and created their own menu, called the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet.

So what was the result? A regime that involves putting the best of all food into your body-in this case, whole grains, leafy greens, nuts, fish, berries, beans, and, of course, a daily glass of red wine. (The benefits stop after one glass, though. If you're downing more, that's one of 5 Red Wine Mistakes You're Probably Making.) And when older folks adhered to the MIND diet for roughly five years, their memory and cognitive abilities were on par with someone seven-and-a-half years younger.

This is big news, considering Alzheimer's disease is now the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. "Delaying dementia's onset by just five years can reduce the cost and prevalence by nearly half," said Martha Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist who helped developed the diet. (Watch out for 11 Things You're Doing That Could Shorten Your Life though.)

The researchers attribute the great results not just to loading the body and brain with optimal nutrients, but also to avoiding harmful ones. On the MIND diet, unhealthy foods are to be limited to less than 1 tablespoon of butter a day and one serving a week (if even) of sweets, pastries, whole fat cheese, or fried food.

Sweets once a week? Bummer. A glass of red every day (and an extra three quarters of a decade to be with it)? That'll probably help make it better.

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