Drink your milk! That’s the advice that has emerged from new research suggesting that one glass of milk a day could boost memory and other brain functions – especially among the elderly.
According to a recent study by the University of Maine of 900 men and women ranging in ages from 23-98, milk drinkers were five times less likely to fail a test gauging memory and other brain functions than people who drank little or no milk at all.
The study, published in the International Dairy Journal, took into account all sorts of factors that might have contributed to the highest scores recorded in the test, including lifestyle, diet, and cardiovascular health. But for some reason, researchers found, milk drinkers did better on the test than individuals who were otherwise considered to be healthy.
Although they said more studies are needed, the researchers suggested the nutrients in milk “may have a direct effect on brain function” and that along with lifestyle changes and other diet considerations milk products “present an opportunity to slow or prevent neuropsychological dysfunction.”
The dairy industry was quick to play up the report. In a press release from the industry’s Milk Processor Education Program, officials said that in addition to the benefits of milk on bone and cardiovascular health, “the potential to stave off mental decline may represent a novel benefit with great potential to impact the aging population.”
“New and emerging brain health benefits are just one more reason to start each day with low fat or fat free milk,” the statement said.