Cutting Calories Could Help Your Memory

BreadHaving a senior moment? A new study suggests that cutting calories may help.

Cutting down on calories could help women retain their memory, according to a study conducted in Germany.

Older adults who cut down on the amount of calories they consume get a two-for-one special: weight loss and better memory.

Healthy women ranging in age from 50 to 80 who reduced their calorie intake by 30 percent for three months not only lost weight, but their scores on verbal memory tests also shot up by 20 percent, according to a study conducted by Dr. Agnes Floel and her colleagues from the University of Munster in Germany, who published the results in the January issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“The results seem pretty dramatic,” said Mark P. Mattson, a senior investigator at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) in Bethesda, Maryland.

“Even though the number of subjects in the study was not really high, they had really high, statistically significant improvements in their performance on the memory test,” added Mattson, who studies caloric restriction and the brain in his role as chief of the Cellular and Molecular Neurosciences Section at the NIA’s Laboratory of Neurosciences. He was not involved in Floel’s investigation.

The study included 50 women, all of whom were either normal weight or slightly overweight. (The average body mass index was 28, which is about 175 pounds for a woman who is 5’6″.) Twenty were assigned to the calorie-cutting group, 20 upped their intake of unsaturated fatty acids (which some studies suggest may help aging brains), and the remaining 10 stuck with their normal diet.

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Unlike the women who cut down on calories, the women who ate more unsaturated fatty acids showed no improvement in their memories, nor did those in the control group. Health.com: 9 ways to save money and stay fit

Why the improvement?

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Source: CNN Health, Fit Nation
By Anne Harding

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