The surprising foods that may boost your brain

  • A new study out of the UK reveals that certain foods can have some serious impact on your brain, preserving its function and protecting you from cognitive decline.
  • The foods, which include surprising things like lamb and wine, were found to be linked to greater cognitive abilities later in life.
  • The research also suggests that salt isn’t as bad for the brain as some thought, unless a person is already at risk for Alzheimer’s Disease.

We all would love for our brains to work better and prevent cognitive decline as we age. Even if you think you’re pretty sharp right now, age has a way of dulling your brain’s ability to process information, your memory, and other things that we tend to take for granted.

Researchers have been hunting for ways to prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s for decades, but a new study focusing on brain health and food intake draws some very interesting links between certain foods and increased cognitive abilities over time, suggesting that these foods provide a sort of protection for the brain and may ward off neurological problems as we get older.

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The study, which was conducted in teh UK using data from the UK Biobank, was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The biobank is a massive collection of health data from those who opt-in, and it currently includes information on half a million individuals of varying ages in the UK. This huge database is the perfect place to draw links between health and other factors, like diet.

For the study, researchers used data on over 1,700 individuals between the ages of 46 and 77. The participants completed questionnaires and then provided responses in multiple follow-up assessments, Science Daily reports. This was done to measure the overall cognitive ability of each individual, and how it may change over time. The study’s data was collected between 2006 and 2016, offering a years-long overview of the brainpower of the participants.

What the scientists found was that certain foods were linked to less brain decline over time, and they’re not necessarily what you might expect. Based on the data, the researches suggest that both daily alcohol consumption (specifically red wine) can provide a boost to cognitive function. The same is true for regular consumption of lamb, though that benefit did not extend to other red meats.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the study was that cheese showed a dramatic ability to prevent cognitive decline as a person ages. This incredible effect was present even in the oldest individuals, suggesting that regular cheese consumption could prove to be a vital tool in preventing cognitive issues later in life.

“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,” Auriel Willette, who led the study, said in a statement. “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.”

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