If you love to unwind with a little wine and cheese at the end of a long day, we’ve got good news for you. It turns out that not only are they a delicious pairing, but the two could also individually prevent signs of cognitive decline. What a treat!
In a 2020 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Iowa State University researchers looked at data from 1,787 adults between the ages of 46 and 77 years old. They did a baseline dietary assessment between 2006 and 2010, then had participants complete follow-up questionnaires about their eating and drinking habits between 2012 and 2013, as well as 2015 to 2016. Study participants provided details about how often they consumed particular foods and beverages, including fruit, vegetables, fish, processed meat, poultry, cheese, tea, coffee, beer, wine, and liquor.
There were several key findings from the research, but two of the biggest ones surrounded wine and cheese consumption. First, cheese was found to be the best food at protecting people from age-related cognitive issues, including in older adults. Second, daily alcohol consumption, but especially red wine consumption, was associated with better cognitive outcomes.
Are wine and cheese really good for our brains?
Researchers haven’t pinpointed what makes wine and cheese so effective in protecting the brain, but they believe it’s the start of more promising work in the future. “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,” Auriel Willette, MS, PhD, an assistant professor at Iowa State, explained in a press release. For instance, one area they still need to look at is if certain kinds of cheese are more effective at protecting brain health than others.
Willette’s co-author Brandon Klinedinst, a PhD candidate at Iowa State, also noted that scientists in the future can take an even closer look at dietary habits when finding ways to slow and prevent cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. “Perhaps the silver bullet we’re looking for is upgrading how we eat,” he explained. “Knowing what that entails contributes to a better understanding of Alzheimer’s and putting this disease in a reverse trajectory.”
In the meantime, it’s great to know that your next wine and cheese night with your girlfriends could be guarding your cognitive health at the same time. Sounds like a great way to kill two birds with one stone to us!