A Little Alcohol May Aid Brain with Mediterranean Diet

Researchers go back and forth continually on what foods are, or are not, good for you. We always advise two things: speak to your doctor for dietary advice and never consume anything in excess. When it comes to alcohol, there are many medical or personal reasons not to drink. People must make their decisions as to have a glass of wine for themselves. The phrase “all things in moderation” dates back to the ancient Greeks. Maybe it’s unsurprising, given that origin, that the Mediterranean diet includes a moderate amount of alcohol. Now, researchers are saying that the diet, with a small amount of alcohol, may boost brain health when followed for a long time.
Research that looked at the same participants over a 30-year period found that people who followed the Mediterranean or the A Priori Diet Quality Score (APDQS) diet were less likely to have any signs of cognitive decline in middle age than people following Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH). All three were suitable for heart health, but the DASH diet didn’t show any signs of promoting cognition health. In a Venn diagram of the three diets, the most significant difference is that the DASH program doesn’t allow for any alcohol while the other two do enable people to drink in moderation. People who were following a Mediterranean regime were better off than the people who followed the APDQS plan.
It’s possible that moderate alcohol consumption as part of a healthy diet could be important for brain health in middle age, but further research is needed to confirm these findings,” said Claire McEvoy, a dietitian and epidemiologist at Queen’s Univ. Belfast. “Changing to a heart-healthy diet could be a relatively easy and effective way to reduce the risk for developing problems with thinking and memory as we age.”
The research was called the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. It followed 2,621 participants who were 25-years-old when the program started, and compared several diets to see the long-term effects of consumption on cognitive function in older age. The scientists saw that people who adhered to the Mediterranean diet we 46 percent less likely to have a decline in cognition skills at the age of 55.
The research is new and far from conclusive. More studies are needed to confirm the results. And, of course, alcohol is not beneficial for many people. However, this may be good news for people who like the occasional glass of wine.
August 26, 2019
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