Sunday, February 08, 2009

Low-Carb Diets and Memory Loss: Is There a Link?

You may be losing more than just a quick pound. Few would argue the fact that low-carb diets work in the short run, but what these dieters might not realize are the effects that a lack of carbohydrates may have on other parts of the body. A study of both low-carb and low-calorie dieters conducted at Tufts University in Massachusetts found that diets that eliminate carbohydrates can have a negative effect on memory. The low-carb dieters displayed a a greater decrease in memory tasks, reaction time, and attention tasks in relationship than those on the low-calorie diet. Although short term memory loss was experienced by those participating in the study, some questions about long term effects of no-carb diets have yet to be explored. Australian research scientist Grant D. Brinkworth, PhD believes that the cognitive effects of the diet "may just be the body readjusting to an unfamiliar diet." Like it or not, carbohydrates fuel the brain. The body breaks carbohydrates into glucose which powers brain activity. Although glycogen--which is derived from proteins--also assists in brain function, glucose is more efficient. What's more, unlike fat that can store energy over a long period of time, the brain cannot store glucose. Therefore, in order to function optimally, the brain needs a constant supply. The trick is to substitute simple carbohydrates (white rice, Russet potatoes, and white bread) for complex (whole grains, brown rice, and sweet potatoes). This way, your body isn't deprived of all carbohydrates--just the ones that can be detrimental to your diet. A Medical University of South Carolina study of mice being fed a diet high in fat and cholesterol showed that the mice displayed impaired brain activity, suggesting that brain functionality can be preserved with a well balanced diet. Eat for Memory Follow these simple guidelines to improve both your diet and memory. 1. Antioxidants. A diet high in antioxidants can help prevent the effect that free radicals have on the brain. Foods highest in antioxidants are easy to spot--they have bright and bold colors. Taste the natural rainbow for an improved memory. Foods: Berries, plums, avocados, grapes, cherries, kale, spinach, and Brussels sprouts 2. Omega-3 fatty acids. Healthy fats in the brain are essential to nerve function. Seek out the seafood section in your local grocery store to find the foods that are highest in omega-3s Foods: Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines 3. B vitamins. B vitamins-especially B-12-are vital for proper brain function. Getting an adequate supply of B vitamins can keep your brain healthy and help prevent dementia and Alzheimer's disease as you age. Foods: Milk, nuts, seafood, eggs, whole grains, leafy greens, and broccoli. By Seth Czarnecki, QualityHealth News

1 comment:

Low Carb Diets said...

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