Cutting Calories May Make You Smarter

by in Food News, March 4, 2009

Can’t remember where you put your darn keys or wallet? Those days may be long gone. A new study shows that memory may improve after you slim down.

The bad news? We all age. The body weakens from the usual wear and tear. Your keen sense of smell and your hawk-like sight tend decrease as well. The brain is no different. Memory also often fails with age.

The good news? Studies have shown that a diet low in calories and high in unsaturated fats (i.e. nuts and oils) can benefit your cognitive function. But those studies were done on animals. So what does that mean for humans? A recent study published in the Proceedings in the National Academy of Sciences concluded that the same diet improves memory in us as well.

In this newest study, overweight adults averaging 60 years of age restricted their calories by 30%. After 3 months, tests showed that memory increased significantly!

Were the memory improvements due to calorie restriction or to the resulting weight loss? According to an American Dietetic Association spokesperson in this Washington Post article, you would expect to find memory improvements with even slight weight loss. Insulin resistance would decrease as would inflammation — all contributing to a better memory.

Calorie reduction at an older age may be a problem — especially if the wrong foods are cut from the diet. Essential nutrients such as vitamin B-12, niacin and iron are sometimes found to be deficient in older adults. Foods containing these nutrients such as fish, lean meats and chicken should not be cut out completely. So it’s important to have balanced diet, stay at a healthy weight and maintain it throughout your lifetime.

Find out if you are in a healthy weight category using this BMI calculator.

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