How Parmesan, Yogurt and Kimchi May Be Key to Stopping Memory Loss
Scientists have linked improved memory to changes in their gut microbiome LGG supplements are also found in parmesan, yogurt, and fermented foods
Probiotics found in Parmesan and yogurt may hold the key to preventing memory loss in old age, research suggests.
Results of a new study reveal that people with mild cognitive impairment who received the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) for three months improved their cognitive scores.
This improvement was linked to changes in their gut microbiome – the mix of bacteria found in our digestive system.
And University of North Carolina researchers say the findings could herald a ‘new frontier’ of preventative strategies in the fight against memory loss.
The probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) is also found in yogurt, Parmesan, kimchi, and sauerkraut.
LGG, which is widely available as a supplement, is also found in Parmesan, yogurt, and fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut.
The scientists recruited 169 participants aged 52 to 75 who were divided into two groups depending on whether they had mild cognitive impairment or healthy brains.
Within each group, participants received either the LGG probiotic or a placebo, in a trial lasting three months.
The team also used gene sequencing to study the participants’ gut bacteria.
Their analysis showed that participants with mild cognitive impairment had higher levels of Prevotella bacteria in their gut than those with normal cognitive function.
This suggests that the composition of the gut microbiome may serve as an early indicator of mild cognitive impairment, allowing interventions to occur sooner, the researchers said.
They also discovered that participants who had mild cognitive impairment and who received the LGG probiotic showed a reduction in the amount of prevotella present at three months.
This change coincided with improved cognitive scores, suggesting that probiotic intake may improve brain health in older adults.
Author Mashael Aljumah said: ‘The implications of this finding are quite exciting, as it means that altering the gut microbiome through probiotics could be a strategy to improve cognitive performance, particularly in people with mild cognitive impairment.
‘Much research has focused on severe forms of cognitive disease such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, but these conditions are more advanced, making them significantly harder to reverse or treat.
‘In contrast, we focused on milder cognitive impairments, which may include problems with memory, language or judgement.
‘Interventions at this stage of cognitive impairment can slow or prevent progression to more severe forms of dementia.
‘By identifying specific changes in the gut microbiome associated with mild cognitive impairment, we are exploring a new frontier of preventive strategies for cognitive health.’
What should a balanced diet look like?
According to the NHS, meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains.
• Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. Count all fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables
• Foods based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains
• 30 grams of fiber per day: This is equivalent to eating the following: 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat cereal biscuits, 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread and a large baked potato with skin.
• Choose low-fat and low-sugar options with some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks).
• Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish per week, one of which should be oily).
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume in small amounts
• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day
• Adults should have 6 grams of salt a day and 20 grams of saturated fat for women or 30 grams for men.
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide