Fluid intelligence naturally declines with age, but three foods can help arrest this trend.
Eating cheese provides a remarkably high protection against cognitive decline with age, new research finds.
Daily consumption of alcohol, in particular red wine, is also linked to retaining a higher IQ with age.
The conclusions come from a study of 1,787 people whose diet and health were tracked for around a decade as part of the UK Biobank research.
The UK Biobank is a large biomedical database containing detailed information on half-a-million UK participants.
Along with the findings about wine and cheese, the results showed that eating lamb weekly, but no other red meats, improved cognition.
Excessive salt intake, meanwhile, was bad for cognitive health, especially for those at high risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr Auriel Willette, study co-author, said:
“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.”
The researchers tracked fluid intelligence, which refers to the speed at which the brain works.
It is like the raw power of an engine or the speed at which a computer can process information.
In contrast, crystallised intelligence roughly refers to general knowledge.
Fluid intelligence naturally declines with age, but this research suggests that wine and cheese can help arrest this trend.
Mr Brandon Klinedinst, the study’s first author, said:
“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 putting this disease in a reverse trajectory.”
The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (Klinedinst et al., 2020).
Hello, and welcome to PsyBlog. Thanks for dropping by.
This site is all about scientific research into how the mind works.
It’s mostly written by psychologist and author, Dr Jeremy Dean.
I try to dig up fascinating studies that tell us something about what it means to be human.