Cheese, red wine could help stave off cognitive decline — study
Everyone knows that the food we eat can have a positive or detrimental effect on certain aspects of our health. But a new survey showcases a link between cognitive acuity and the food we eat as we get older. For once, the highlighted foods are not fruit and vegetables (known health boosters) but wine and cheese.
This study, recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, was led by Iowa State University researchers. They analyzed data for 1,787 adults aged between 46 and 77 at the end of the study. All the participants were part of the United Kingdom Biobank, a large-scale biomedical database containing in-depth genetic and health information from 500,000 U.K. participants.
The participants took intelligence tests to establish a baseline and then had two follow-up assessments. The whole process took place between 2006 and 2016.
Participants also had to give information concerning their food and alcohol consumption in the beginning of the study and during the two follow-up meetings. They had to detail their fruit and vegetable consumption, but also that of meat, cereal, bread, fish, tea, coffee and alcohol (beer, cider, wine, champagne and liquor).
They found that cheese seemed to be the most protective food against age-related cognitive impairment, as did a daily consumption of alcohol, in particular red wine, associated with improved cognitive function. They also concluded that eating lamb (but no other types of red meat) once a week, could improve long-term cognitive ability.
They observed that excessive consumption of salt was bad, especially for people showing a risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
“I was pleasantly surprised that our results suggest that responsibly eating cheese and drinking red wine daily are not just good for helping us cope with our current COVID-19 pandemic, but perhaps also dealing with an increasingly complex world that never seems to slow down,” said Dr. Auriel Willette, who co-headed the study.
The research team would now like to launch clinical random trials to determine if simple food changes could have a significant impact on the brain. This could contribute to a better anticipation of cognitive decline as well as a better understanding of Alzheimer’s disease. IB