In previous years, the exciting news that dark chocolate, in fact, has health benefits was released. People all over the world jumped for joy to learn that one of their favorite snacks isn’t all that bad. Now, thanks to recent research, we found out similar news about wine and cheese. Contrary to popular belief that cheese can lead to heart attacks and strokes due to high contents of fat, cheese and wine can help prevent cognitive decline associated with old age.
A study that was conducted by Iowa State University, which consisted of about 2,000 adults ages 46 to 77, were tracked for 10 years. Each participant was given fluid intelligence tests that measure the ability to think on the spot and problem-solve effectively. This is impaired when you have dementia and at times Alzheimer’s disease. These same tests were also given twice more throughout the study. The scientists tracked all the participants’ eating habits to see what kind of foods could be linked to their cognitive abilities.
Among the many foods that can be found here, red wine and cheese seemed to protect the brain from deteriorating memory and thinking skills. With this in mind, there are some conditions that come with the territory of eating wine and cheese.
ALL ABOUT THE WINE
While you might be excited about your guilt-free glass of wine every night, there are some things to keep in mind. Some of the participants who benefited from drinking red wine drank up to an entire bottle a day. According to Auriel Willette, an assistant professor and a principal investigator for the study, “the individuals we observed benefitting from up to a bottle a day were probably drinking very modestly throughout the day and always with food”. He goes on to explain how important it is, when drinking a bottle a day, to be sure to spread out the glasses and always consume with food.
Another study published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, also linked the daily consumption of red wine to a healthier heart. How does this all work you ask? The study on red wine looked at wine residue passed through the gut and found that those metabolites are preventing cells from dying because of stress conditions that normally affect neurodegenerative disorders, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. This is by no means a reason for anyone to start drinking excessively all the time, but if you already enjoy some alcoholic beverages with dinner, it might be a good idea to trade out your beer or liquor with a glass of red wine.
ALL ABOUT THE CHEESE
According to Iowa State University’s study, “cheese, by far, was shown to be the most protective food against age-related cognitive problems, even late into life”. Despite the lack of information as to what types of cheeses were consumed by the participants, it is to be assumed that heavily processed cheeses are not as beneficial. With that being said, cheese on foods, like pizza and burgers, are not healthy due to the high levels of sodium and redefined grains. Therefore, if you’re looking to get your daily serving of cheese in, you should try and steer clear of those options.
TAKE A TIP FROM THE FRENCH
The French love their wine and cheese combination and are statistically healthier than Americans with a significantly lower rate for heart disease. Despite a higher activity rate than the average American, they eat wine and cheese regularly. The most important difference here, is what their foods are made of. The French consume more probiotic foods, and much less GMOs. When deciding what type of cheese to buy, choose the one that is “raw, unpasteurized, and loaded with beneficial bacteria and fungi”. Like mentioned above, the French also refrain from consuming too much wine without food.
In all, while wine and cheese have been proven to have cognitive benefits, moderation is key. There are plenty of other foods that can help your mind stay young and alert such as, whole grains, leafy greens (as well as other vegetables) and berries. Lesson learned from this study is to be mindful of the foods and portions you are consuming every day. With this new information, be sure to host your guilt-free wine and cheese party with your family and friends, even if it be virtual.