Daily wine and cheese may be a surprising way to keep your mind sharp

A study from Iowa State University has found that consuming certain food products may help preserve cognitive acuity in one's later years. The results, which were described as surprising, found that consuming alcohol and cheese every day may have a protective effect on one's cognitive function, as well as one type of red meat.

The study involved analyzing data on around 1700 older adults from the UK using a biomedical database featuring both health and genetic data. The information on the participants used for this study included Fluid Intelligence Test data with a baseline and two additional assessments years later.

After digging into that data, as well as information on the participants' diets, the study found that consuming cheese had the greatest protective effect on cognitive issues related to aging. Consuming alcohol daily — particularly red wine — was linked to improvements in one's cognitive function, as well.

As far as meat goes, lamb (but no other red meat varieties) was found to 'improve long-term cognitive prowess.' Meanwhile, consuming too much salt was found to only be a problem for people who had existing Alzheimer's disease risk factors– at least when it came to cognitive functioning, that is.

The researchers note that clinical trials will be necessary to explore whether this simple dietary change could help maintain brain health as one gets older. The study's principal investigator Auriel Willette explained:

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. 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.