Study Shows Eating Gluten Does Not Impair Cognitive Function
There are many factors that affect cognitive function – age, genetics, physical activity, lifestyle choices and more – but for healthy adults eating gluten isn’t one of them. A new study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), looking at long-term intake of gluten and cognitive function in women found eating gluten, at any level, does not impair cognitive function in middle-aged women without celiac disease.
The study led by researchers at the Harvard Medical School assessed daily gluten intake from dietary data collected on nearly 13,500 women in their 50s and 60s from the Nurses’ Health Study over a 20-year period. At the conclusion of the study, the researchers tested the women’s psychomotor speed and attention, (2) learning and working memory, and (3) global cognition. Following the tests, the researchers compared the results of the women with the highest amount of gluten intake to those with the lowest levels of gluten intake. The results showed good news for pasta lovers.
Cognitive function of women with high intakes of gluten were no different than those women with low levels of gluten intake, confirming that gluten had no effect on mental ability and that a low-gluten diet was not associated with any improvements in cognitive function.
Along with proper sleep and regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, one that includes all food groups, including grains, is the best way to keep your brain healthy as you age. Take it from the Mediterranean diet, rich in foods like fruit, vegetables, and pasta/whole grains, this diet has many health benefits including keeping your mind sharp. Pasta is a staple in the Mediterranean diet and a great way to add more healthy items into your diet and help you construct a variety of flavorful dishes. Colorful veggies, fresh fish, and lean meats all pair well with a gluten-rich pasta to create healthy, delicious dishes that are good for your cognitive health.
Looking for a healthy recipe that fits the bill? Check out this Italian favorite, Tuscan-Style Pasta With Cannellini. It provides all the ingredients of the Mediterranean diet with a healthy serving of pasta to help keep your brain fit. Other recipes that feature pasta can be found here.