Drinking one glass of milk a day could positively impact your brain and mental performance, according to a new study. Milk is a nutrient-rich natural food and is well-known to strengthen bones, but this health breakthrough is all about the mind.
Researchers found that adults with higher intakes of milk and milk products scored significantly higher on memory and other brain function tests than those who drank little to no milk. Milk drinkers were five times less likely to “fail” the test, compared to those not drinking milk.
This comes from a study on about 900 adults between 23 and 98 years of age. They were put through a series of brain tests, including visual-spatial, verbal and working memory tests. Regardless of age and through all tests, those who drank at least one glass of milk each day had an advantage. The highest scores for all eight mental performance tests were observed for those with the highest intakes of milk and milk products.
These benefits held true after controlling for other factors that can affect brain health. Overall, milk drinkers tended to have healthier diets, but there was something about milk intake specifically that offered the brain health advantage, according to the study.
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The potential to stave off mental decline may represent a novel benefit with great potential to impact the aging population. While more research is needed, the scientists suggest some of milk’s nutrients may have a direct effect on brain function and present an opportunity to slow mental dysfunction.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend three glasses of low-fat or fat-free milk daily for adults and each eight-ounce glass contains nine essential nutrients that Americans need, including calcium and vitamin D.
Here is what one cup of two-percent milk nets you, in terms of daily value for essential nutrients: 39% of iodine; 30% of vitamin D; 29% of calcium; 28% of tryptophan; 26% of vitamin B2; 22% of phosphorus; 21% of vitamin B12; and 16% of protein. In terms of calories, it contains 122.