Total organ meat was associated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment. Fish consumption was the best for lowering dementia, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's disease. Dairy was associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer's but a higher risk of Parkinson's.
IS RED MEAT THE BEST PROTEIN FOR BRAIN FUNCTION SUMMARY
- Various proteins had various effects. There is no best protein for brain function.
- Total organ meat was found to have a lower risk of cognitive impairment.
- Fish consumption was the best for lowering dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.
- Eggs were not associated with any cognitive function impairment.
- Dairy was associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s but a higher risk of Parkinson’s.
WHAT ARE THE FOODS THAT KILL BRAIN CELLS
Over the past few years, it has become clear that nutrition plays a crucial part in maintaining optimal brain health as we age. Certain dietary factors, such as alcohol intake, high artificial sweetener sugar consumption, and high trans-fat consumption, can have a negative effect on both the onset and the duration of neurodegenerative disease. (Pase et al., 2017; Popa-Wagner et al., 2020)
Processed meats also seem to increase the risk of dementia. A 2021 study found that eating just 25 grams of processed meat daily can increase the risk of dementia by 44 percent. Processed meat includes dried meat like jerky, hot dogs, sausages, pepperoni, pancetta, chicken nuggets, hamburgers, salted cured meats like bacon and ham, smoked meat, and any canned meat. Thus processed meat protein for brain function is not optimal.
Pro-inflammatory processed red meat and foods (i.e., French fries, pizza, etc.) are well-documented to negatively affect brain function and increase the risk of heart disease. (Gomes Gonçalves et al., 2023; Li et al., 2022) Conversely, fish consumption is well documented to have anti-inflammatory effects and can reduce the risk of memory loss, heart disease, and other nervous system-related disorders. (Bakre et al., 2018; Mischley et al., 2017)
RED MEAT, EGGS, DAIRY, OR FISH: BEST PROTEIN FOR BRAIN FUNCTION?
There is controversy regarding optimal protein for brain function. Some studies have found positive benefits of increasing protein consumption for optimizing brain health, whereas others have found negative effects. (Coelho-Júnior et al., 2021; Zhang et al., 2021) The discrepancies in results could be due to the types of protein consumed (i.e., red meat, fish, milk, processed meats, chicken, etc.).
The controversy regarding protein and brain health is further complicated by protein’s different fat sources (i.e., fatty acids). Polyunsaturated fats benefit brain health, whereas diets higher in saturated fats are detrimental. (Morris, 2004; Morris et al., 2003) In a review of the literature on dairy products, a positive effect between dairy and brain health was found, but whole-fat dairy products may be related to cognitive decline. (Crichton et al., 2010)