wine and cheese
Sean Cate
Sean Cate
June 23, 2024 ·  3 min read

Wine and Cheese May Help Reduce Cognitive Decline

A tasty cheese platter with a good glass of wine might have more benefits than just a pleasant evening. Recent research from Iowa State University suggests that these popular pairings may contribute significantly to better cognitive health as we age. Let’s explore the findings of this study and its implications for preventing cognitive decline.

The Study and Its Participants

cheese platter
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Researchers from Iowa State University conducted a large-scale study involving nearly 1,800 adults aged 46 to 77 from the UK Biobank. Participants completed a Fluid Intelligence Test (FIT) at the start of the study between 2006 and 2010, with follow-up assessments in 2012-13 and 2015-16.1 These tests provided insights into the participants’ cognitive abilities over time, while their dietary habits were also recorded.

Read More: Almonds are out. Dairy is a disaster. So what milk should we drink?

Key Findings on Cheese

cheese close up
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The study revealed that cheese provided the most protection against age-related cognitive decline compared to any other food. Cheese’s impact on cognitive health was significantly greater than other dietary choices, suggesting that incorporating cheese into one’s diet could be beneficial for brain health.

The Role of Red Wine

red wine
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In addition to cheese, the study found that consuming alcohol daily, particularly red wine, could improve cognitive function as people age. The antioxidants and other compounds found in red wine are believed to have protective effects on the brain, contributing to better cognitive performance.

The Benefits of Lamb

lamb meat
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While red meat is generally considered a dietary concern, the study noted that eating lamb weekly could increase mental prowess over the long term. This finding highlights that not all red meats have the same impact on health, and specific choices like lamb can be beneficial for cognitive function.2

Read More: Mac & Cheese: The Best Comfort Food Recipe With No Meat or Dairy

The Impact of Salt

salt
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On the flip side, the study identified excessive salt consumption as detrimental to long-term brain function. People at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, in particular, should monitor their salt intake carefully to avoid exacerbating their condition.

Genetic Factors and Dietary Choices

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The researchers noted that genetic factors might influence the degree of protection or risk associated with certain foods. While some individuals may be genetically predisposed to benefit more from these dietary choices, others might need to be more cautious. The study suggests that personalized dietary recommendations could play a crucial role in preventing cognitive decline.

Future Research and Implications

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While the study provides promising insights, the researchers emphasized the need for randomized clinical trials to confirm these findings. Such trials could help determine whether simple dietary changes can have significant impacts on brain health and potentially prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Conclusion

cheese
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The research from Iowa State University offers a hopeful perspective on the role of diet in maintaining cognitive health. Incorporating cheese, red wine, and lamb into a balanced diet, while moderating salt intake, could be a practical strategy to reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Future research will further clarify how these dietary choices can be optimized to benefit brain health across different populations.

Read More: Metformin Treatment Linked to Slowed Cognitive Decline

Sources

  1. More wine and cheese may help reduce cognitive decline, fight Alzheimer’s disease.” Study Finds. Chris Melore. December 11, 2020
  2. Wine and cheese helps combat dementia.” The Drink Business. James Evison. may 29, 2024.