What we put in our mouths has a huge impact on our bodies. Diet can totally change the function of the systems within us, for good or bad. This is why it is very important to monitor what we eat and how much we eat of it. But what if the foods you thought were bad for you could actually be good for you? There are some components in food, the frequency of which you eat it, that can surprisingly change how it affects your body. One study has shown that there are particular foods we can consume that can help our brains function better.
This study was completed and led by Auriel Willette, who is an assistant professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition, and Brandon Klinedinst, a Neuroscience Ph.D. candidate in Food Science and Human Nutrition. The study focused on data collected from 1,787 adults from the United Kingdom. It was collected through the UK Biobank, a biomedical database that contains genetic and health information from half a million participants. Through a Fluid Intelligence Test, the participants answered questions that analyzed their ability to “think of the fly.” These tests were administered from 2012 to 2013, and then repeated again in 2015 and 2016. The general database that these participants were pulled from have helped create a baseline of research for progress in some of the most life threatening diseases.
Within this test, they also answered questions about their consumption of foods and alcohol like fresh fruit, raw vegetables, oily fish, beef, cheese, bread, beer, coffee, white wine, champagne, liquor, and many more.
Through these findings, they found something very intriguing about alcohol, lamb, salt and cheese. These four things were shown to have a significant impact on cognitive function.
Cheese proved beneficial in warding off age related cognitive issues, and can even help as we grow older. It was the most protective food of all the findings. If consumed daily, alcohol can also be of use in this aspect. Especially with wine and red wine, improvement to cognitive function is possible.
“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,” Willette told sources. “While we took into account whether this was just due to what well-off people eat and drink, randomized clinical trials are needed to determine if making easy changes in our diet could help our brains in significant ways.”
Lamb is also a beneficial food to consume weekly. This is the exception to red meats, as it can actually help with cognitive function while other red meats can potentially be harmful. Lastly, salt is surprisingly a great food to utilize frequently for cognition. The other demographic group that should be cautious with salt is people who are already at risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. They should be mindful of long term consumption of salt so that they do not increase these risks of cognitive disrepair.
“Depending on the genetic factors you carry, some individuals seem to be more protected from the effects of Alzheimers, while other seem to be at greater risk,” Klinedinst said. “That said, I believe the right food choices can prevent the disease and cognitive decline altogether. Perhaps the silver bullet we’re looking for is upgrading how we eat. Knowing what that entails contributes to a better understanding of Alzheimer’s and putting this disease in a reverse trajectory.”