Eat Less, Remember More?

Need a little motivation to keep your daily calorie consumption within a healthy range? According to a new Mayo Clinic study, there is yet another reason to watch what you eat – it can help you maintain your memory!

The preliminary study, which was part of a larger overall study on aging, examined mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in 70-89 year olds. In the study, they defined MCI as “a decline in mental abilities, chiefly memory, that’s noticeable but not severe enough to affect the performance of day to day activities” – essentially, the step between age-related decline in memory and dementia.

As a part of the study, participants were divided into three groups, based on calorie consumption: low (600-1,525 cal./day), moderate (1,525-2,142 cal./day) or high (2,142-6,000 cal./day). At the end of one year, researchers found that those in the high calorie consumption group had higher instances of developing MCI – up to twice as likely as those in the low or moderate calorie group.

And though additional research is needed, this was not the first study to suggest higher calorie consumption can lead to mental decline. Yes, the participants may have been older – but the younger you start monitoring the foods – and quantities – you eat each day, the better your chances of staving off mental (and physical!) decline in the long run.

That said, it’s important to note that exercise, good nutrition and general health also play a part. Studies have shown that exercise and physical activity will do more than just keep you fit – it will keep your mind engaged, too. And chances are, the healthier your lifestyle, the longer you’ll live … and you’ll want to hold on to all your good memories you have collected throughout the years!

[Quick side note … remember that unless under doctor supervision, you should never dip below 1,200 calories a day. Without enough calories to keep your brain going, you’ll suffer from mental fog, at least in the short-term – and too few calories can also kick your body into calorie conservation mode, grinding your weight loss efforts to a standstill!]