- Eating cheese and dairy products is associated with less cognitive decline
- Dairy consumers over 65 years of age had better attention, memory, language and skills
Staying active, eating healthy and not smoking are among the top tips recommended by doctors for keeping the brain healthy as we age.
But scientists now say they’ve found another one: eating cheese.
Researchers in Japan, who monitored the health and eating habits of more than 1,500 people over the age of 65, said those who ate cheese regularly performed better on cognitive tests.
The results suggest that those who consume dairy products have a lower risk of dementia, according to scientists.
Cheese may contain certain nutrients that improve brain function, but more studies are needed to confirm the results, the scientists said.
Several studies have shown a beneficial association between cheese intake and cognitive health.
Health chiefs recommend maintaining a healthy weight, not drinking too much alcohol and keeping blood pressure at a healthy level to reduce the risk of dementia.
But the researchers, based at the National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology in Obu, noted that previous studies suggested that physical activity, a Mediterranean diet, dairy intake and moderate wine consumption can delay or prevent dementia and decline. cognitive.
Other studies have suggested that a high intake of soy products, vegetables, seaweed, milk and dairy products reduces the risk.
To further investigate the link between brain health and dairy products, the team analyzed data from 1,504 participants aged 65 and older in Tokyo who were asked about their eating habits and health.
About eight in 10 included cheese in their diet, either daily (27.6 percent), once every two days (23.7 percent) or once or twice a week (29.7 percent).
Processed cheese was the most popular, with two-thirds choosing this option.
Participants also reported eating cheese with white mold, such as brie, camembert, and cream cheese (15.3 percent), fresh cheese, such as feta, mascarpone, and ricotta (13 percent), and bold blue cheese, such as stilton, gorgonzola and blue brie. (2.5 percent).
The volunteers also completed a 30-item test to assess their cognitive function, which includes checks for orientation, attention, memory, language, and visuospatial skills.
A score of 23 or less suggested poorer cognitive function.
Results, published in the Nutrients diary, showed that participants who included cheese in their diet were less likely to receive a score below this threshold, suggesting they had better cognitive function.
On average, those who ate cheese scored 28 points, while those who did not, 27.
Cheese eaters also had slightly lower BMI and blood pressure, walked faster, and had more variety in their diet. However, they also had higher cholesterol and blood sugar levels, the results show.
The team wrote: “The results suggest that cheese intake is inversely associated with lower cognitive function, even after adjusting for multiple confounders.”
However, the authors say their findings alone cannot prove that cheese protects against poor brain health, and noted that follow-up studies would be needed to confirm the results.
They said their findings could be because cheese eaters tend to have a more varied diet. But cheese may also contain nutrients that “support cognitive function,” the team said.
What is dementia?
A global concern
Dementia is a general term used to describe a variety of progressive neurological disorders (those affecting the brain) that affect memory, thinking and behavior.
There are many types of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common.
Some people may have a combination of different types of dementia.
Regardless of which type is diagnosed, each person will experience dementia in their own way.
Dementia is a global concern, but is seen more frequently in wealthier countries, where people are likely to live to a very old age.
How many people are affected?
The Alzheimer’s Society reports that there are currently more than 900,000 people living with dementia in the UK. This number is expected to increase to 1.6 million by 2040.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, affecting between 50 and 75 percent of those diagnosed.
In the United States, there are an estimated 5.5 million Alzheimer’s patients. A similar percentage increase is expected in the coming years.
As a person’s age increases, the risk of developing dementia also increases.
Diagnosis rates are improving, but it is believed that many people with dementia are still undiagnosed.
Is there a cure?
There is currently no cure for dementia.
But new medications can slow its progression and the earlier it is detected, the more effective the treatments can be.
Source: Alzheimer’s Society