All types of food energy, not just carbohydrates, appear to enhance memory performance in healthy older adults, says a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition."The positive effects of carbohydrates on cognition have been well-established by researchers, but this is the first study to show that pure dietary protein and fat also improve memory," says lead author Randall Kaplan.
Until now, it was believed by scientists that increases in blood glucose levels explained the beneficial impact of carbohydrates on memory in elderly people.In the present study, however, people performed better on memory tests after consuming carbohydrate, fat and protein drinks of equal calories compared to a placebo with no food energy, regardless of the drinks' effects on blood glucose levels.
The positive results occurred in verbal recall tests administered 15 minutes after the participants - 11 males and 11 females, aged 61 to 79 - consumed each type of drink.'Other memory tests involving attention and non-verbal tasks showed variable effects, he says, suggesting that specific types of food energy enhance specific aspects of brian function.Further research is necessary to unravel the unique connections between each nutrient and brain region involved in memory, according to researchers.