Prepare your corkscrew and cheese knife. Those who indulge in red wine and cheese every day are better able to think logically and solve problems. According to a 10-year study from Iowa State University, these are two skills that deteriorate with age.
Iowa State University researchers tracked 1,789 people over a 10-year period and found that those who ate cheese and drank red wine every day had higher scores on so-called liquid intelligence tests. “Fluid intelligence is a measure of cognitive function that is largely based on the ability to think logically and solve problems – something that is particularly sensitive to age,” said Brandon Klinedinst, co-author of the study.
The study looked at foods in the context of a person’s overall diet – a more realistic approach than some of the laboratory-based food studies of the past. And while the researchers didn’t investigate the specific mechanisms by which wine and cheese improved brain health, other studies found that a compound in red wine called resveratrol activates chemical pathways that limit stress on brain cells and certain compounds in cheese have properties that also lower inflammation in the brain, which leads to improved cognitive performance. Not much for daily drinking? There are many other ways to get your mental machinery going:
- If you smoke, quit: your risk of dementia almost doubles when you are half a pack (or more) a day.
- Fall asleep: If you get below the recommended minimum length of seven hours, you will get into trouble. In fact, one study found that a night of sleep deprivation was the same as drunk driving in terms of slower reaction time and impaired thinking.
- Move it: Exercise of any kind, especially cardio, stimulates the growth of new brain cells – and connections between those cells – even as you get older.
- Meditate: Yes, it sounds blurry, but the science is real. People who meditate regularly have more gyrifications, or “folds” of the cortex, which allows them to think faster and more efficiently.
Subscribe to YouTube for access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more!