Experts in nutrition and neuroscience say protecting cognition through nutrition may be the future. This is also what was shown by a study conducted by the University of North Carolina in the United States, which revealed that the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG), found in foods such as Parmesan and yogurt, can enhance cognitive health.
Study suggests that changing the gut microbiome through probiotics, found in foods like kimchi, could be a strategy for improving memory – iStock/Getty Images
According to experts, probiotics are widely available in nutritional supplements and are also found in fermented foods, such as kimchi (a typical Korean dish made of spicy vegetables) and sauerkraut.
But why does this potentially beneficial effect on cognition occur? The answer, according to science, lies in the intestine and its direct relationship with the brain.
What does the study say?
To understand the effects of probiotics on cognitive function, the study included 169 participants between the ages of 52 and 75, focusing on people with mild impairment and also those with normal brain health.
For three months, participants received the LGG probiotic or a placebo, while scientists used genetic sequencing techniques to study the volunteers’ gut bacteria.
The results revealed that those with mild cognitive impairment had higher gut levels of a bacteria called Prevotella than participants with normal cognitive function. On the other hand, those who received LGG probiotics showed a reduction in the amount of Prevotella and showed better cognitive ability.
By identifying specific changes in the gut microbiome associated with mild cognitive impairment, researchers are exploring a new dimension in preventive strategies in cognitive health. This work highlights the complex relationship between food, gut bacteria and our mental health. It appears that probiotics could be important allies on this front.
So, how about adding natural sources of probiotics, like Parmesan and yogurt, to your daily diet? In addition to being delicious, they can bring many benefits to your cognitive health.
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