To Help Keep Your Brain in Top Shape, Milk Matters

An up-close view of four cows in a field
Zeljko Radojko/Shutterstock

You already know that milk benefits your bones. But did you know that it’s also important for your brain? In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, researchers asked folks between the ages of 60 and 85 to keep food diaries for a week.

Milk isn't just good for your bones. Learn how Drinking Milk May Increase the Substance That Protects Your Brain from Cell Damage

Next, they were given MRIs to measure their brain levels of an antioxidant called glutathione, which protects your gray matter from nerve cell damage and oxidative stress. (That’s when there are too many oxygen-containing molecules circulating throughout your body.)

The results? Participants who drank more milk had more glutathione in their brains. And these higher levels may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study didn’t reveal exactly how milk worked its magic on the brain. But researchers have a pretty good idea: Cysteine, one of the key ingredients in glutathione, is found in abundance in milk — much more so than in other foods.

So go ahead and pour yourself a cold one at your next meal — three glasses a day should do the trick, according to the study authors — and get a head start on protecting your brainpower.

To learn more, check out these articles on Staying Sharp:

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4 Foods That Strengthen the Crucial Gut-Brain Connection

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