Milk Boosts Brain Power in Test Taking Skills
Three daily 8-ounce glasses of milk is the recommended dietary guideline for reaching optimal levels of calcium and vitamin D toward bone and cardiovascular health. However, recent research shows that milk may also boost brain power toward improving test taking skills and scores.
Declining mental health is a growing problem for many individuals as they age. While numerous studies have focused on diet, few have specifically addressed the effect milk and other dairy products have on cognition. In a recent study examining the relationship between diet and cognitive performance, researchers have recently reported their findings in the International Dairy Journal, data that shows that milk may boost the brain power of milk drinkers as they significantly outperform non-milk drinkers while taking tests.
The study consisted of over 900 men and women of ages 23 to 98 who were given a standardized battery of tests that analyze brain performance in areas that included cognition, visual and spatial memory, psychomotor performance, attention and concentration and verbal ability.
What the researchers found was a significant trend in cognition scores was observed across a wide range of dairy food intake groups for all eight cognitive measures tested. The highest scores for all eight cognitive outcomes were observed for the highest dairy product consumers.
Furthermore, the trend was a liner one, which demonstrated a linear increase in scores with increasing dairy food intake. In other words, daily consumers of milk products scored significantly higher than those who consumed dairy products moderately on a weekly basis; while those who consumed dairy products moderately, scored significantly higher than those who consumed dairy products infrequently.
The conclusion of the study was that in addition to the many established health benefits of milk on bone health and cardiovascular health, the potential to ward off and prevent mental decline may represent a novel benefit of drinking milk with an aging population. The researchers suggest that some of milk's nutrients may have a direct effect on brain function that presents an opportunity to prevent neuropsychological dysfunction.
The authors of the study believe that their results warrant further study that looks at specific dairy products, their fat content and an accurate measure of how much is consumed by each person tested. Furthermore, that testing should include a more comprehensive neuropsychological battery of tests during multiple time periods to determine the effect milk and other dairy products have on boosting brain power during cognitive test taking skills.
Image Source: Courtesy of Wikipedia
Reference: “Relation between dairy food intake and cognitive function: The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study" International Dairy Journal” 2012; 22: 15-23; Crichton GE, Elias MF, Dore GA, Robbins MA.