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Calories Shown to Improve Memory in the Elderly

Fitness for mind and body.

A new study suggests supplemental calories could improve memory in elderly people.

Keep your brain fit

Dietary Fats

Study results in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examined how dietary fats facilitate memory retention. Piomelli and McGaugh discovered that oleoylethanolamide (OEA) causes memory consolidation, the process by which superficial, short-term memories are transformed into meaningful, long-term ones. It does this, Piomelli said, by activating memory-enhancing signals in the amygdala, part of the brain involved in the consolidation of memories of emotional events.

Drugs that mimic OEA are in clinical trials for triglyceride control.

Protein, Carbohydrate, Fat or Placebo?

It is also a commonly known fact many of these same elderly people do not eat enough.

Recently a a study was performed where the brain function in people between the ages of 61 and 79 were monitored before and after consuming a protein shake, carbohydrate, fat or a placebo. When ingested, regardless of which source, the participants' test results showed improvements were much stronger for at least one hour.

This compares to about 15 minutes after consuming other types of drinks without the nutritional benefites of the aforementioned.

Also note, poor nutrition may contribute to many of the cognitive impairments associated with aging, such as fading memory and diminished attention span.

In addition to this study, previous research shows a beneficial effect from carbohydrate on memory performance. (See also: Carbohydrates Verses Protein in Men)

German Research
A study, done by German researchers says that a 30 percent reduction in caloric intake can boost memory and improve thinking skills, according to Fierce Bio Researcher. The study suggests that the calorie restriction in normal and overweight people may boost memory and cognition by reducing insulin resistance and inflammation. This, however, is thought to apply to all age groups.

In regards to protein or fat enhancing memory, the studies are new, but these findings could all be very beneficial to seniors should they continue to show such positive results. If a senior citizen in your life doesn't appear to be eating well, or eating enough, perhaps it's time you stepped in and lovingly nudged them a bit in the right direction!

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