Could you improve your memory by including more dairy?

by Anne Myers-Wright RD/APD

Posted on Apr 2, 02:04 PM in and . No comments.

I was really interested to read a study, published last month, which looked at the effects of dairy foods on cognitive performance. At the moment, there is lots of exciting research looking at diet and cognitive performance, cognitive decline and dementia. A lot of this looks at B vitamins, folate, omega 3 fats and fruit/vegetable intake but this latest one looks at the effects of a high intake of reduced fat dairy food on cognitive performance, particularly in overweight subjects.

In the study, overweight adults having less than 2 serves of dairy/day were recruited for a 12 month trial and were either given a diet which was high dairy (4 serves/day) or a low dairy (1 serve/day). After 6 and 12 months, subjects were tested for measures of cognitive performance.

The researchers found there was some improvement in working memory after following the high dairy diet and concluded that following a high dairy diet may have the potential to improve working memory.

It should be noted that the study was only small with 38 participants and that low fat dairy was used. It’s worth considering though.

Do you know how many serves of dairy foods you are having each day? Are you in the low or high dairy group?

A serve is about :

  • 1 glass (250mL) of milk
  • 1 tub (200g) of yoghurt
  • 2 slices (40g) of cheese
  • 1 cup (250ml) custard


Crichton GE, Murphy KJ, Howe PR, Buckley JD, Bryan J. Dairy consumption and working memory performance in overweight and obese adults. Appetite. 2012 Mar 26.

Tags: Cheese, Cognition, Dairy, Milk

About the author

Anne Myers-Wright

Anne Myers-Wright RD/APD

Anne is a Health Professions Council (HPC) registered dietitian (RD), an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD- Australia), a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), a member of the British Dietetic Association, The Nutrition Society and of The Dietetics Association of Australia.


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