Wine and cheese are two of life’s great pleasures.
They’re even better in combination. Just ask the French.
But did you know that wine and cheese can help prevent cognitive decline?
The top 2 findings from the study were:
- Cheese, by far, was shown to be the most protective food against age-related cognitive problems, even late into life.
- The daily consumption of alcohol, particularly red wine, was related to improvements in cognitive function.
The study — a first-of-its-kind large scale analysis that connects specific foods to later-in-life cognitive acuity — looked at 1,787 aging adults (from 46 to 77 years of age) in the UK from 2006–2016. During that period, participants completed a Fluid Intelligence Test at baseline and then in 2 follow-up assessments years apart. The Fluid Intelligence Test determines someone’s abstract problem-solving skills and ability to think on the fly.
Participants also answered questions about their food and alcohol consumption at baseline and through the 2 follow-up assessments, detailing their intake of fresh fruit, dried fruit, raw vegetables and salad, cooked vegetables, oily fish, lean fish, processed meat, poultry, beef, lamb, pork, cheese, bread, cereal, tea and coffee, beer and cider, red wine, white wine, champagne and liquor.
“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 the study’s principal investigator, Auriel Willette, an assistant professor in Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University.
Specifically, daily cheese intake strongly predicted better Fluid Intelligence Test scores over time. Alcohol of any type daily was shown to be beneficial, with red wine being additionally protective.
Another significant finding from the study is that consuming lamb weekly improved long-term cognitive functioning, whereas other red meat provided no benefit.
Excessive consumption of salt was found to be bad for brain health, but only for people already at higher risk for Alzheimer’s Disease. Added salt may put at-risk individuals at greater risk — such as those with a family history of Alzheimer’s Disease or who carry the ApoE4 gene — but didn’t appear to harm normal-risk individuals.
This study shows that the right food choices can possibly prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of cognitive decline.
Adding cheese and red wine to your diet daily, and lamb on a weekly basis, is the smartest thing you can do for your brain, according to this latest research.
I’ll drink to that!