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Just in time for the holiday season, researchers have found that consuming wine and cheese may have a direct impact on our cognitive acuity. What's more, that impact is actually a positive one. The findings were part of a larger study, which was conducted at Iowa State University and published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, about the link between our diet and cognitive decline. One of the most significant findings from the study found that cheese, by far, was shown to be the most protective food against age-related cognitive problems, even later in life. And nothing goes better with cheese than wine. Researchers also found that the daily consumption of alcohol, particularly red wine, was related to improvements in cognitive function.

red wine being poured into a wine glass
Credit: ©InterLoire/Tony Perez

"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," said Auriel Willette, an assistant professor in Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State. "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."

Willette and his team of researchers studied data collected by 1,787 aging adults in the United Kingdom, who first answered questionnaires that measured their ability to "think on the fly." Participants then completed The Food Frequency Questionnaire asked participants about their intake of food and beverages including 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, wine, champagne, and liquor. The questionnaires—and corresponding answers—were sent and completed over the course of ten years.

"Depending on the genetic factors you carry, some individuals seem to be more protected from the effects of Alzheimer's, 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."

This story originally appeared on marthastewart.com