Science finds this beloved food could help your brain fight this devastating disease

For anyone that enjoys cocktail hour, you just got great health news that could benefit you for years to come.

To many, wine is the most attractive pillar of healthy diets like the Mediterranean.

In addition to contributing to cardiovascular health, consuming wine in moderation can reportedly delay cognitive decline later in life.

The latest on this comes from a new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. In it, the researchers posit that specific food and beverages, including lamb, cheese, and red wine, can reduce one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as they age.

Conversely, consuming high amounts of salty products appeared to induce the inverse.

“Fluid intelligence (FI) involves abstract problem-solving without prior knowledge. Greater age-related FI decline increases Alzheimer’s disease (AD) risk, and recent studies suggest that certain dietary regimens may influence rates of decline Alcohol of any type daily also appeared beneficial and red wine was sometimes additionally protective. Consuming lamb weekly was associated with improved outcomes,” the authors wrote in the new paper.

“Among at-risk groups, added salt correlated with decreased performance. Modifying meal plans may help minimize cognitive decline. We observed that added salt may put at-risk individuals at greater risk, but did not observe similar interactions among FH- and AD- individuals. Observations further suggest in risk status-dependent manners that adding cheese and red wine to the diet daily, and lamb on a weekly basis, may also improve long-term cognitive outcomes.”

The data was premised on the health records of 1,787 adults between the ages of 46 and 77 living in the United Kingdom. Each was tasked with completing the Fluid Intelligence Test (FIT)–which is designed to assess how the study sample thought on their feet, at the start of the study which began in 2006 and ended in 2010. The participants were subsequently administered two follow-up assessments between 2012 and 13 and then again between 2015 and 2016.

The researchers used self-reported intake of 49 whole foods from a Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) to calculate the consumption of the following items: fresh fruit, dried fruitraw vegetables, salad, cooked vegetables, oily fish, lean fish, processed meat, poultry, beef, lamb, pork, cheese, bread, cereal, teacoffeebeer, cider, red wine, white wine, champagne, and liquor.

Perhaps surprisingly, cheese was determined to yield the most protection with respect to cognitive health.

“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,” the study’s primary investigator Auriel Willette explained in a university release. “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.”

Although previously conducted research has confirmed various elements of the Mediterranean diet to be beneficial for cognition,  randomized clinical trials are needed to determine the relevant mechanisms.

In the new study, those who consumed higher amounts of cheese, lean meat and fish, and drank red wine in moderation evidenced the most robust relationship with fluid intelligence into old age.

“Depending on the genetic factors you carry, some individuals seem to be more protected from the effects of Alzheimer’s, while other seem to be at greater risk. 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 put this disease in a reverse trajectory,” neuroscience Ph.D. candidate Brandon Klinedinst concluded in a media release.