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Diet Modifications, Including More Wine and Cheese, May Help Reduce Cognitive Decline

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  • Diet Modifications, Including More Wine and Cheese, May Help Reduce Cognitive Decline

    This is not MS specific, but... Wine & Cheese? More study is needed. I'm on it!! - D


    NEWS RELEASE 10-DEC-2020

    Diet modifications - including more wine and cheese - may help reduce cognitive decline


    Research News

    AMES, Iowa - The foods we eat may have a direct impact on our cognitive acuity in our later years. This is the key finding of an Iowa State University research study spotlighted in an article published in the November 2020 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

    The study was spearheaded by principal investigator, Auriel Willette, an assistant professor in Food Science and Human Nutrition, and Brandon Klinedinst, a Neuroscience PhD candidate working in the Food Science and Human Nutrition department at Iowa State. The study is a first-of-its-kind large scale analysis that connects specific foods to later-in-life cognitive acuity.

    Willette, Klinedinst and their team analyzed data collected from 1,787 aging adults (from 46 to 77 years of age, at the completion of the study) in the United Kingdom through the UK Biobank, a large-scale biomedical database and research resource containing in-depth genetic and health information from half-a-million UK participants. The database is globally accessible to approved researchers undertaking vital research into the world's most common and life-threatening diseases.

    Participants completed a Fluid Intelligence Test (FIT) as part of touchscreen questionnaire at baseline (compiled between 2006 and 2010) and then in two follow-up assessments (conducted from 2012 through 2013 and again between 2015 and 2016). The FIT analysis provides an in-time snapshot of an individual's ability to "think on the fly."

    Participants also answered questions about their food and alcohol consumption at baseline and through two follow-up assessments. The Food Frequency Questionnaire asked participants about their intake of fresh fruit, dried fruit, raw vegetables and salad, cooked vegetables, oily fish, lean fish, processed meat, poultry, beef, lamb, pork, cheese, bread, cereal, tea and coffee, beer and cider, red wine, white wine and champaign and liquor.

    Here are four of the most significant findings from the study:
    1. Cheese, by far, was shown to be the most protective food against age-related cognitive problems, even late into life;
    2. The daily consumption of alchohol, particularly red wine, was related to improvements in cognitive function;
    3. Weekly consumption of lamb, but not other red meats, was shown to improve long-term cognitive prowess; and
    4. Excessive consumption of salt is bad, but only individuals already at risk for Alzheimer's Disease may need to watch their intake to avoid cognitive problems over time.
    "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," Willette said. "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."

    Klinedinst added, "Depending on the genetic factors you carry, some individuals seem to be more protected from the effects of Alzheimers, 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."

    Dave Bexfield

  • #2
    “Willette, Klinedinst and their team analyzed data collected from 1,787 aging adults”

    Aren’t all adults aging, unless they are, well, not alive?

    either way, I will volunteer for the wine and cheese study


    • #3
      Hahaha, LWAF! Researchers aren't writers apparently! Unfortunately I think the waiting lists to get into these studies go out years, and if they don't, they should! The more pressing question: what type of cheese and wine do you prefer???

      Me: for wine, bolder reds with a little old world funk, sauvignon blancs for whites; for cheese, uh, everything. Struggling to think of any cheese I don't like!
      Dave Bexfield


      • #4
        Count me in for wine and cheese study too! I would like to see it teased out with future studies if wine and cheese eaters just generally have more income and therefore access to better fresh foods, as well as better healthcare options? Also lamb is often part of a Mediterranean diet, I wonder if that influenced the outcome? I can understand why A baked Brie with apricot jam might improve the movement of my neurons. But Guessing it will take more evaluation with regards to cheese in a can.


        • #5
          Bit OT here, but I just read Welcome Series email that covered diets. Dave's sample diet of "dairy-free, turmeric-laden vegan diet" struck me funny because it was just about the one I came up with. Just need to add gluten free. BUT, I didn't lose weight and I didn't feel better.

          I got too good at making rice flour muffins. When I was hungry between meals, I could whip those up and be eating in about 15 min. Only later in life did I learn wheat and rice are the two most calorie dense foods. But weight wasn't why I didn't feel better; it was taste bud boredom. I need more than apples and oranges to keep me interested in my meals. Anyway, I did my diet six months; saw no change in my MS, and returned to Pepperoni pizza as a staple of life. (Stayed non-dairy though, soy cheese substitute to make the pizza.) Haven't had a rice muffin since.

          As to wine and cheese, I think beer and cashews will substitute.


          • #6
            I like the idea of beer and cashews, too.

            I am surprised by the findings of this study because for years I was brainwashed by the McDougall camp into thinking cheese is the root of all evil. I am flexitarian now and just had a nice crumbly cheddar in my eggplant dish last night - and I have to admit it is yummy!
            Now I won't feel so guilty about having cheese more often.


            • #7
              If wine and cheese are that beneficial then I should have nary a lesion.

              But, guess is also that those who can afford high-quality cheese and wine as a common staple also likely can afford to eat better. they also probably have better access to preventative care. I'm guessing more is at play here.


              • #8
                I read the study, but am unable to find any comment about multiple sclerosis in it. I understand that wine and cheese can help the "normal" person, but am not sure about those of us with MS I have PPMS and would like nothing more than to have some wine and cheese, but have been told again and again to avoid it.


                • #9
                  Sukie! Nice to meet you. I have progressive MS too. And I drink wine and eat cheese. Who has told you again and again to avoid those things? The most important thing to avoid in MS is misinformation. There is no viable research to support any of the published MS diets.

                  From the MS Society:

                  Challenges with special diets

                  Different diets have been proposed as treatments, or even cures, for the signs and symptoms of MS. Most of the diets touted as helping people with MS have not been subjected to rigorous, controlled studies, and the few that have been evaluated have produced mixed results.

                  Most claims made for dietary treatments are based on personal accounts, and reported benefits may be changes that could have happened without any treatment. Read more in the Eating Habits article from Momentum magazine and below:
                  • There is some evidence that a diet low in saturated fats and supplemented by Omega-3 (from fatty fishes, cod-liver oil, or flaxseed oil) and Omega-6 (fatty acids from sunflower or safflower seed oil and possibly evening primrose oil) may have some benefit for people with MS.
                  • A recent research review paper by Pavan Bhargava, MD, provides information and current evidence for each of the most popular diets.
                  Some special diets may be harmful because they include potentially toxic amounts of certain vitamins, or exclude important nutrients. That's why it's important to consult with your healthcare professional before starting any diet that includes nutritional supplements or vitamins.
                  Dave Bexfield


                  • #10
                    Thank you for the information. I guess I was reading the wrong info online. I think I will enjoy a glass of wine tonight with some cheese. Cheers!