Loughborough University Research Finds Tempe Linked to better Memory
People who eat high levels of some soy products, including tofu and other so-called ‘superfoods’, may be at an increased risk of memory loss.
Scientists from the Universities of Loughborough and Oxford, funded by the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, worked with Indonesian colleagues to investigate the effects of high soy consumption in 719 elderly Indonesians living in urban and rural regions of Java.
The researchers’ findings, to be published in ‘Dementias and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders’ later this month, include evidence that a high consumption of tofu is associated with worsening memory, particularly among people aged 68 or older.
Lead researcher, Professor Eef Hogervorst of Loughborough University said: “Soy consumption is on the increase in the West and is often promoted as a ‘superfood’. Soy products are rich in micronutrients called phytoestrogens, but it is not entirely clear what their effect on the aging brain is.
“They have similar effects to oestrogen which may offer neuroprotection to the middle-aged and young but not to over 65s for whom it could heighten risk of dementia and lower memory function.”
Intriguingly, the researchers also found that consuming tempe, a fermented soy product made from whole soy bean, is associated with better memory.Professor Hogervorst said the beneficial effect of tempe might be related to its high levels of folate, which is known to reduce dementia risk.