Following a healthy diet doesn’t just have to be for weight loss, it can make us healthier and feel better, both physically and emotionally. And sometimes, they can even give us a boost we weren’t expecting. That’s what scientists have found out when it comes to intermittent fasting, a popular diet that you’ve probably heard of for achieving great results. But did you know it can also improve your memory?
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is the term for going between periods where you eat and period where you don’t, in which you fast. The frequency of the fasting period differs from different methods. Some IF diets have people only eat for 8 hours a day and fast for the rest, while other alternate eating and not eating for 24 hours periods. It’s been a hit in recent years, with even celebrities like Jennifer Aniston touting the diet.
The diet has a growing list of perks and benefits. It’s been proven to lower blood pressure, increase brain function, and help regulate your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Now, thanks to British researchers, you can add long-term memory boost to the list.
How does intermittent fasting improve your memory?
In a new animal study, researchers discovered that IF is an effective method for improving memory. The study was done on mice separated into three feeding groups. The female mice were either given a standard daily feeding (the control group), a daily feeding with calories restricted (CR), or an IF diet where they were fed every other day. The CR and IF groups were also fed 10 percent less calories than the control group (CG).
After three months, researchers found that the mice in the IF group demonstrated improved long term memory retention. They also studied the brains of the mice and found that the IF group had an increase of the Klotho gene, otherwise known as the “longevity gene.” This is an enzyme that has been found to extend the life span when more of it is present. Neurogenesis, the process where more neurons are made in our brains, had also increased in the IF group.
The scientists behind the study believe these findings will carry over into humans and see IF as a way to stop cognitive decline in the future. It could mean good news for helping us stay our best as we age.
“Our results demonstrate that Klotho is not only required, but plays a central role in adult neurogenesis, and suggests that IF is an effective means of improving long-term memory retention in humans,” said Dr Sandrine Thuret, of King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience.
As you can see, there’s quite a few health benefits to intermittent fasting. If you’d like to try it, check out our guide to figure out which plan is best for you!