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Milk may prevent memory loss in the elderly

January 19, 2015 — 

A review of studies on the consumption of dairy products suggests that drinking milk may help stave off the effects of aging, including memory loss.

“Dairy is always good for you because it provides lots of calcium, high quality protein and shorter-chain fats which are thought to boost metabolism,” says Peter Jones, director, Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals at the University of Manitoba.

Jones, a world-renowned expert on the health benefits of foods, wrote an accompanying review of a recent study, both published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. That study found that dairy products can stave off the effects of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s in the elderly.

He noted: “Based on this article, from the standpoint of calcium and high-quality protein perspectives, adding more milk to the diets of older individuals should be encouraged.”

Jones cited that the article found increasing milk consumption was related to an increase in glutathione, an antioxidant that helps maintain brain function among other processes. Of interest was that the effect was not as pronounced with other dairy products such as cheese or yogurt.

“This suggests that further studies on how milk is related to antioxidants may lead to ways of preventing degeneration of brain function later in life,” Jones explained.

Research at the University of Manitoba is partially supported by funding from the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.

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