A new study conducted by researchers at Umea University in Sweden reveals that losing excess weight is not only beneficial for physical health but also helps improve memory, especially in older women.
The researchers conducted their study on a group of 20 overweight, postmenopausal women with an average age of 61 years. The women were asked to stick to either the Paleolithic or Caveman diet, which included 30 per cent protein, 30 per cent carbohydrates and 40 per cent unsaturated fats, or follow the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations of a diet which was composed of 15 per cent protein, 55 per cent carbs and 30 per cent fats.
The researchers also measured the participants' body mass index (BMI) and episodic memory before and after the study. The researchers found that when the BMI and average weight fell after a period of six months, the participants' memory performance improved which was characterized by improved brain-activity pattern during memory testing.
"Our findings suggest that obesity-associated impairments in memory function are reversible, adding incentive for weight loss. The altered brain activity after weight loss suggests that the brain becomes more active while storing new memories and therefore needs fewer brain resources to recollect stored information", lead researcher Andreas Pettersson said.