The study, a collaboration between researchers from the University of Maine and the University of South Australia, found that “participants who consumed dairy products at least once per day had significantly higher scores on multiple domains of cognitive function compared with those who never or rarely consumed dairy foods, adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors, lifestyle and dietary factors.” They also found that, in general, “…frequent dairy food intake is associated with better cognitive performance but underlying causal mechanisms are still to be determined.” In other words, people who consume more dairy do better than non-dairy consumers, but it’s not 100% clear why.
The study showed that the relationship between dairy consumption and healthy cognition was linear – so the more dairy consumed, the better the cognitive outcomes. That is, people who consumed dairy every day did better than people who consumed it weekly, and those people did better than those who consumed dairy very infrequently.
The researchers plan to take the next step of testing specific dairy products, taking into account fat and vitamin content of each, and enhance the breadth of the neuropsychological testing battery involved.
Nonetheless, this early finding is certainly exciting to those of us who are interested in the brain-boosting effects of certain foods.