Does Drinking Wine Really Fight Dementia?
Drinking wine is said to have many benefits. As Good Housekeeping and Wide Open Eats share, drinking wine may boost the immune system, lower cholesterol, and the risk of strokes, heart diseases, Type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. It may also help increase bone density, fight inflammation, improve the mood, promote long life, and sharpen the mind.
Studies on alcohol and its effects on brain health have been ongoing for many years. According to a study published by the National Library of Medicine, light to moderate consumption of alcohol may protect against dementia. Another study examines the relationship between wine and Alzheimer's Disease, the most threatening type of dementia.
According to Ladders, researchers concluded that the only alcoholic beverage with protective effects against dementia was wine. Still, this pertains to moderate drinking. Excessive amounts may potentially increase the chances of developing dementia. More than four glasses a day or 23 glasses a week is deemed excessive.
The why's behind the benefits of wine are still being debated. Wine Spectator writes that one common theory is that polyphenols in wine have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Others also credit ethanol, which Wine Spectator says "is believed to stimulate the release of acetylcholine in the brain, which leads to improved cognitive function."
Other Sources of Polyphenols
But aside from drinking red wine, you can also get polyphenols from other sources. Well + Good names the following polyphenol-rich food and their proper serving sizes according to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition:
Cherries - 274 mg per serving
Strawberries - 235 mg per serving
Red grapes - 101 to 169 mg per serving
Artichokes - 260 mg per serving
Red onions - 168 mg per serving
Spinach - 119 mg per serving
Hazelnuts - 495 mg per serving
Dark chocolate - 1664 mg per serving
Coffee - 214 mg per serving
Black tea - 102 mg per serving
Diets For Brain Health
Results of several studies regarding wine and its effect on dementia are still conflicting and, in some cases, inconclusive. However, the Alzheimer's Association states that a healthy diet can benefit the body and the brain. Ladders mentions that the "consumption of wine is one component of the Mediterranean diet," and the Mediterranean diet is one of the recommended diet plans of the Alzheimer's Association. As written on their website, both the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet can help lower the risk of heart disease and dementia. Today adds that the MIND diet may also slow down the rate of cognitive decline.
These three diets share similarities in the foods that one should eat to maintain a healthy heart and mind. Whole grains like whole wheat, brown rice, oats, and quinoa are recommended over white rice and white pasta. Olive oil, berries, leafy greens, and walnuts are also staples of these diets. In addition, higher consumption of fish is an important part. Wine is included.