Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bonus: Even Your Brain Benefits from Cutting Calories

According to a new German study, healthy women ranging from 50 to 80 years old who were of normal weight or overweight and cut their calories by 30% showed a significant improvement in their performance on tests of verbal memory. Translation: cutting back the calories led to improvement in memory and a sharper mind.

The researchers suggest that by cutting back their calories, the women were more sensitive to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar, as well C-reactive protein, a molecule associated with inflammation. These two factors have been suggested to improve brain function. To top it off, exercise has been suggested to exert similar effects on the brain.

As great as this all sounds, seniors must be careful not to cut out too many calories; doing so might result in too much weight loss and increase the risks of falls and fractures as well as other complications. To make sure this did not happen, the participants in this study regularly met with dietitians who advised them as to how much to eat and how many calories were safe for them to cut out. The key is to reduce calories in a safe way while maintaining proper nutrition (hmmmm...sounds familiar - Thank goodness for NIM!!)

Bottom line: A healthy diet and lifestyle is the key to a sharp mind and optimal health at any age!